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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Helping kids deal with tragedy

Our world is a scary place.  The shootings in the Connecticut elementary school serves as a stark reminder of how vulnerable we and our children are.  It's always a tragedy when someone dies at the hand of another but random gunning down of innocent children is beyond comprehension.

Even though it's difficult for us to understand, our focus needs to be on our children, helping them cope, reassuring them and teaching them.  Here are some ideas to help you...

1. Limit the amount of time you watch news coverage of tragedy in front of your children.  They don't need to see or know all the horrific details. 
2. Along with #1, limit the amount of discussion you do with other adults when the children are within listening distance.
3. Children mirror their parents.  If you want to lessen their anxiety, be calm and in control of yourself.
4. Be truthful and honest with them.  Remember to be age-appropriate when discussing things with them.
5. Keep your routines as normal as possible during times of stress.  Everyone needs that sense of normalcy when the world around them is going crazy.
6. Your children will probably need extra love and reassurance while they are coping with the effects of a tragedy.  Give them the time they need to deal with it.
7. Turn to God to give you strength.  He is the ultimate source of peace and comfort.

We have little control over things that happen in the world but we do have control of how we respond to them and how we help our children cope.  We can't live in fear of the unknown but must continue living and loving our families to the best of our abilities.


  1. Remember the wise words of Mr. Rogers' mom that he shared with us: ‎"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'

    "To this day, especially in times of 'disaster,' I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world." Fred Rogers