(The Daily Dish) McCall Lyon, PsyD, teleconsultation director at the Children’s Center Utah joined us to discuss how parents and children are dealing with feelings of fear and anxiety in the aftermath of the Uvalde shooting. Many of these feelings are things that they may not be able to describe.

Many parents may be struggling with anxiety but could use a few tips on how to help their children process what they might be seeing and hearing on the news or from peers. According to Dr. Lyson “Normalize what they are feeling because it IS a normal response to what has happened.” She also suggests that it’s beneficial for parents to show a healthy range of emotions and also for parents to endorse feelings such as feeling sad or frightened but to also remind children that because we are adults we know how to make ourselves and THEM feel better so they know to lean on us when they need help.

There is not a concrete age that is too young to have a conversation, the depth of the conversation is going to be different depending on every situation, the circumstances, and the proximity to the tragedy. They may also need to have a deeper conversation about what they might be seeing on television, or hearing from school and friends. This information and news are best for children to hear from their parents first.

Parents are feeling many emotions over this tragedy as well. There are ways that they can also manage their own emotions with a topic such as this while they’re in front of their children. While this is easier said than done, consider the strategies that have worked for you in the past during similar circumstances. If you find that you’re struggling or could use some help or support, seek help.

Parents may need additional guidance during this time to help themselves and their children and they should never feel ashamed. No one wakes up in the morning with the tools how to navigate a scenario like this. Luckily, there are resources to support them during times like these. Dr. Lyon Suggests checking out the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) for resources and reminds us that not every child will need mental health services if they’ve not been impacted.

If your child is showing more signs of distress such as difficulty sleeping or eating, or problems separating from their parents, that is when you will want to be concerned and you can reach out and contact your insurance, The Utah Department of Health, If your child is under the age of 6, you can also reach out to Children’s Center Utah.

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