Helping Kids in the Aftermath of Violence

When you are a parent, it is extraordinarily difficult to absorb a tragedy like the school shooting that took the lives of 20 young children and six adults in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14, 2012. This kind of violence is hard to comprehend yourself, let alone try to explain it to your children.

If you need to reassure your kids in the wake of this heartbreaking news, let them know that while there are troubled people in the world who end up doing bad things, the vast majority of us are good.
 Emphasize to your children that they're safe and that many, many adults look out for their well-being, including you. 

Then take a deep breath, hug your children tightly and remind yourself how very lucky we all are to have children in our lives.

Here are some excellent resources for helping children cope with anxiety, fear and worry in the aftermath of violence:

• From the American Academy of Pediatrics:
Resources to Help Parents, Children and Others Cope in the Aftermath of School Shootings

• From the American Psychological Association:
Helping Your Children Manage Distress in the Aftermath of a School Shooting 

• From the National Association of School Psychologists:
A National Tragedy: Helping Children Cope

Deirdre Wilson is senior editor of the Boston Parents Paper.

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17 Dec 2012

By Deirdre Wilson