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.
Las reacciones de los niños y jóvenes a un tiroteo están fuertemente influenciadas por cómo responden al evento los padres, familiares, maestros y otros cuidadores. A menudo los niños y jóvenes acuden a estos adultos para obtener información, consuelo y ayuda. Existen muchas reacciones que son comunes después de un evento de violencia masiva. Generalmente estas disminuyen con el tiempo, pero saber acerca de estas reacciones puede ayudarle a brindar apoyo, tanto a usted mismo como a sus hijos.
Children of all ages grieve after the death of a family member, friend, or other important person. Grieving children can show a range of emotions and reactions. Sometimes they appear sad and talk about missing the person. Other times they play, interact with friends, and do their usual activities. In addition to intense sadness, children may show changes in behavior (e.g., be less interested in usual activities, be irritable, have changes in sleeping or eating), changes in their social interactions (e.g., be more withdrawn), and/or question their faith. When adjusting to the loss, children typically are able to participate in “tasks” considered helpful to the grieving process:
- Understanding the person cannot come back
- Coping with feelings about the person and the death
- Adjusting to changes in life without the person
- Talking about memories and what that person meant to them
- Committing to relationships with new people
- Continuing on a healthy developmental path
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.