Talking to your Child about School Shootings


Gun violence is more and more prevalent in America, even spilling into our schools, where active school shooting numbers continue to rise. Modern technology allows streaming of live videos, photos, and recordings from these horrific scenes to flood the internet. Leaving most of us to feel overwhelmed or hopeless. Even if your child has not seen violent images, they have likely practiced lock-down drills at school or in care settings. As parents, how do you explain what gun violence is to your children? How can you make them feel safe as they hop on the bus to head to school?

FamilyMeans Counseling & Therapy provides suggestions on how to talk to your child about school shootings to ease anxiety and calm nervousness.

First, focus on your own self-care. Be sure that you calm your own anxieties around gun violence. Find support in a spouse or friend and work through your thoughts about the topic before you speak with your child. Before you can focus on supporting others positively you must take care of yourself.

Second, before you start a conversation with your child, remove distractions such as phones or televisions. Begin by asking them what questions they have about school shootings or gun violence. Recognize the feelings that they are having surrounding this topic, validate them, and help them find a sense of calm.

TIP- Establish a daily, no distraction, check in time (at the dinner table works great) so that you can keep communication lines open. This is a great way to support your children and provide consistency.

Stay positive! Encourage your children to think of all the good that surrounds them. Take a moment to appreciate those that you love, extracurricular activities, and your home. Focus on what is going well in this moment.

If you find your child is needing more support than these suggestions reach out to us for help. FamilyMeans provides Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TFCBT) for children, teens, and their parents to help process through traumatic experiences and build resiliency. TFCBT is widely researched and found to be the number one treatment for children and teens who have been through a traumatic event. Let us help you and your family on the path to healing!