- On Good Things Utah this morning – We all had the best time celebrating Deena’s birthday last night at a local restaurant. She brought pictures and video of the big birthday event to share with our viewers this morning.
- Plus, Americans are reeling from another school shooting this morning. Monday morning, according to officials, three children and three staff members were shot and killed at the Covenant School, a private Christian school for students in preschool through sixth grade, in Nashville, Tennessee. The female suspect was shot and killed by authorities inside the school. No one who was shot survived, officials said. The deadly shooting is the 131st mass shooting to have taken place so far this year in the U.S., according to the Gun Violence Archive, which defines a mass shooting as one in which four or more victims are shot or killed, not including the shooter. So how do you talk to your kids about gun violence in schools? Experts shared these tips:
- Be proactive in talking with kids.
ABC News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton said last July — shortly after 19 students and two teachers were killed at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas — that topics like school shootings should be discussed with kids in a proactive way. “The first step is to make an age-appropriate dialogue, open lines of communication with your child,” Ashton said, later adding, “We shouldn’t sit back and wait for them to come up and say, ‘Mom, Dad, I’d like to talk about gun violence.'” She continued, “We’re going to need to take the first step and come to them early and often and say, ‘What are you thinking about? What are you afraid of? What questions do you have?'” Ashton also encouraged parents and caregivers to lead with honesty and transparency and to not be afraid to say “I don’t have an answer” or to share their feelings. If an adult doesn’t have an answer, Ashton recommended they use dialogue like, “I don’t have an answer to that but I’ll help you find it.” And if an adult has fear after a school shooting as children often do, Ashton said they can reassure a child by saying, “I know you’re scared, so am I, but let me tell you what your teachers and what your parents and community are trying to do to help you stay safe.'”
- Be truthful about what happened.
- Dr. Melissa Brymer, director of terrorism and disaster programs at the UCLA-Duke National Center for Child Traumatic Stress, said parents and caregivers should be truthful with kids about school shootings that happen, but in an age-appropriate way. “As hard as it is, we need to be truthful about what happened,” Brymer told ABC News last year. “And make sure we answer kids questions truthfully.” She continued, “For our young kids, they don’t need to have all the details. Many times they’re going to be worried about their safety, your safety as a parent or caregiver or their family members’ safety, so we want to reiterate what’s being done to help them right now.” Brymer said parents should be prepared for teenagers to want a “much more in-depth conversation.” “How do we talk about what this event has meant that might have impacted our value system?” Brymer said of a potential conversation starter with a teen. “Can you encourage your kids to think about is there a club or some type of activity that they can do within their schools to show and create change? In these times, many of us start to feel lonely. How do we reach out to those that might not have someone in their life?”
- Reach out to others for support.
- Brymer also suggested parents and caregivers take a “pause” to think about how an event like a school shooting affects their own emotions so they can be ready to talk to their kids. “Sometimes we don’t have the words right away,” Brymer said. “We might need to reach out to our own support systems and have those conversations, and then we can have them with our kids.” If a child’s stress levels or response to a mass shooting are hard to manage, experts say parents and caregivers shouldn’t hesitate to seek guidance from their pediatrician, a school counselor, social worker or other mental health experts. Parents should also seek out professional mental health help if they are struggling. We hope you tune into these Hot Topics and so much more this morning on a Tuesday edition of GTU.
- Be proactive in talking with kids.
How to talk to your children about gun violence
by: Nicea DeGering
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