Children’s Grief Center Tips

December 17th, 2012 at 3:52 pm by under Latest Posts

With the nation still reeling from the events in Connecticut on Friday, and while locally we grieve and prepare for a candlelight vigil for Emilie Parker, the 6-year old who recently moved from Rio Rancho many are wondering how do we talk about this senseless tragedy with our own children? How do we reassure them of their own safety?

This tragedy is an opportunity to start a conversation about these events, teach your children how we can respond in a healthy and supportive way and model our own faith in our community and survivor spirit.

  1. Always tell the truth. Limiting repeated exposure to horrifying news stories and conversations is a good thing – but they will hear something. That something probably won’t be an entirely accurate portrait of the killings, but they will hear stories, and they will see people reacting in fear. Now is a good time to have a conversation. Explain that sometimes bad things happen. They’re not happening now, and they’re not happening to us. We are safe. The people who committed these crimes are not able to hurt anyone else. Why did they do it? It’s hard to understand – but they were very sick people. It gets a lot of attention because it is so rare, and so unlikely to happen here.
  2. Take action. We can’t change the bad thing that happened, but we can choose how we move forward in our lives. Take this moment to tell your loved ones you are grateful for their presence in your life. Appreciate the blessings surrounding you. And show your children an expression of compassion– helping other people is always a great way to help ourselves.
  3. Don’t let fear win. It’s natural for empathetic parents to fear the worst happening to their children – we know on some level every time we hear of tragedy that ‘there but for the grace of God go I.’ However, it is not helpful for our children to see their parents react with panic. Show them that you care, show them that you love them, and show them that we go on together. If your children are afraid, assure them that although we are not able to prevent bad things from ever happening again, we always do everything we can to keep them cared for and safe.

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