How to talk to your kids: the Aurora theater tragedy
As a parent, it can be difficult to talk to your child about tragedy. It’s especially difficult when we don’t have all the answers and can’t explain why someone would go into a movie theater and harm so many innocent people. However, as a parent, it’s your job to somehow explain this horrible occurrence. Click on the following link from Abc News to watch a short video about this very topic:
In the above video, Dr. Robert Besser does an excellent job of discussing how to speak to your kids about the theater tragedy. Here’s a few important points to remember:
Try to shield young children from this event. Younger kiddos will likely have great difficulty understanding this event and don’t need to know. If your young child does ask questions, keep your answers concrete and brief (e.g. “A very sick man hurt and killed people in a movie theater. Now the people are safe and the man is in jail.”)
Show appropriate emotions (you can let your kids see that you are sad, as this is appropriate to the situation). However, don’t go overboard. If you are crying hysterically, wait until your own emotions are in check before talking to your child. You are your kiddo’s rock; and your child needs to see you are stable and handling the situation effectively.
Encourage your child or teen to share and express his/her feelings and emotions with you. Do not discount your child’s feelings (e.g. if your child says, “I feel scared” say, “Yes, I understand. What happened was very scary,” instead of, “There’s no reason to feel scared.”
Stick to the facts. If your child or teen is fearful of going to the movies, validate that fear and back off for a bit. If the fear persists, go online and look up statistics about rare of an occurrence this event was, as this can be reassuring.
Best of luck. And remember, talking to your kids about tough stuff is difficult, but your kiddos will thank you for it later.