After any disaster or crisis, families struggle with what they should say to children and what’s best not to share with them. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) encourages parents, teachers, child care providers, and others who work closely with children to filter information about the event and present it in a way that their child can understand, adjust to and cope with.
Children’s and teen’s reactions to the shooting are strongly influenced by how parents, relatives, teachers, and other caregivers respond to the event. They often turn to these adults for information, comfort, and help. There are many reactions that are common after mass violence. These generally diminish with time, but knowing about them can help you to be supportive, both of yourself and your children.
As an association dedicated to helping children and families around the globe, our thoughts and prayers are with those impacted by the disasters frequently in the headlines. A compiled resources in hopes of helping children and families deal with violence Disaster Resource Center Disaster:
- Helping Children Cope
- News and Children
- Firearms and Children
- Children and Guns
- Caring for Kids After a School Shooting
- National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)
- NCTSN Mass Violence Resources National Child Traumatic Stress Network – Talking about the Shooting
- Restoring a Sense of Safety in the Aftermath of a Mass Shooting: Tips for Parents and Professionals
This guide offers advice on how to talk to children about tragic events, such as shootings and terrorist attacks, that they are likely to hear about at school and/or on the news. Children and teenagers are better able to cope with upsetting news when they understand more about the event. They need information just as adults do. Begin by asking what they already understand about what happened. They have likely heard about the event on TV, on the internet or social media, at school, or from their friends.
Violent attacks that target people because of their identities happen around the world with disturbing frequency. What can educators do to help students reflect on and understand these attacks? This Teaching Idea is a guide for teachers to navigate conversations with their students after news of a mass shooting, terrorist attack, or other violent event. Such conversations are difficult. Yet when we don’t address the violence in the classroom, we risk normalizing it. We recommend coordinating with colleagues and ensuring that students have space to emotionally process the events. Afterwards, you may want to help students explore the nature and impact of hate crimes, and consider ways that communities respond to hate and violence. Finally, we offer recommendations to help students engage with ongoing news coverage in a responsible way.