Back to school shopping – usually a highlight of August days for families – takes on a different tone after this past weekend’s devastating events.
And no this didn’t happen here in La Crosse or Onalaska or anywhere in Wisconsin, but when something so horrific happens in the lives of other families, our own security is weakened and our hearts are heavy for their losses and their grief.
So, once again, as parents what do we do?
Hopefully for young children under the age of six or, if we’re lucky, eight years old, they will be shielded from this news completely by carefully guarding our own conversations in front of them, as well as any news and television sounds and coverage.
However, if there is any chance of them overhearing, tell them in as few sentences as possible, that something very sad happened by a person who used a gun to shoot people.
Then unplug, go out in nature, get together with friends, read together, stay close, pay attention to signs that children are worried, “gather the wagons” as I’ve said before by being connected physically and emotionally with those important to you.
Children will take their cues from the adults in their lives.
When children are older, ask first what they have heard, and still keep images and repetitive news coverage off. Answer their questions and perhaps find a way to reach out in some manner to offer support to those affected – if this is something you believe your child will want to do – as well as share positive stories of people helping others.
For the rest of us, we can only hope that someday, somehow, these heart-breaking events stop happening – and we can help our children grow up secure in confidence, caring and concern for everyone.
Please remember to call The Parenting Place if you are looking for other ways to help your child deal with fears .