How to Talk with Your Children About the Connecticut School Shootings

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Frightening images from the Connecticut school shooting are destined to be on the front page and on television screens for days to come.

So how do you address the issue with your children?

Emory University child and family psychologist Nadine Kaslow says first, tell your child how much you love him or her and then offer reassurance “that you’re going to do everything you possibly can to protect them from bad things happening to them,” said Dr. Kaslow, “and that you’re going to keep your family life as safe as possible and that you’re going to work with the school to keep the school is as safe as possible.”

If your child is older, Dr. Kaslow says you can expect some to appear not to care about the shootings and others to become obsessed with the event. If your pre-teen or teenager becomes too interested in the shootings, Dr. Kaslow advises  parents to talk to the children about “how to balance this with other things in their life. So you don’t want to tell them they can’t have any access to this, but like with anything, you need to try to work with them to do some moderation, appreciating that adolescence is about extremes.”

Dr. Kaslow says those steps are important because, in this day and age, there is no way to shield your children from the news.