How to talk to your children about a school shooting

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  • 2

    whiskeysour

    Depending on the age - Don't sugar coat it !!!!! Tell the truth.... Guns are bad... When bad people have guns they do bad things. There are bad people in the world. They do bad things. The most important thing is - Telling your child that he/she is safe from harm. Police (supposedly) are the good people, they protect us. Many children past away, but everybody is okay. The children is in ( if your family believes in God ) are in heaven or a better place. Tell them I will protect you. You are safe.

    The best thing to do is to comfort the kids. If they are to young and don't understand tell them they are safe.

  • 1

    KariHaruka

    I've got an idea how I'd discuss matters such as death of a pet, periods, sex etc with my daughters. However something like the Connecticut massacre. I just wouldn't know how to explain it to them, as a parent I'm finding it difficult to put into words about whats happened. But to explain it to a child who's world is full of innocence I don't know. It would be very difficult to explain such a situation to them.

  • 3

    kimuzukashiiiii

    To be honest, with very young children I don't see why they need to be "talked to" About it at all. Over Americanized thinking again.

    Of course there is A LOT of news coverage surrounding this, but I intentionally do NOT let my almost 4 year old see this, because I KNOW it would scare my child, and almost definitely give nightmares, or concerns. Its responsible parenting, in my opinion, to only let my child watch things on TV which are suitable for young children.

    IF my child had been there, and witnessed this event, then of COURSE they will need more than "talking to" (Ie some form of professional counselling), and when my child is old enough to find out about it alone, and ask questions, and raise their concerns, this is something that will need to be considered. However young children (I consider pretty much anyone under 5 in this category) do not need to know this, they do not NEED to see the news coverage and be scared/worried about it.

    I am much more interested in talking to my child about things that are within control - for example road safety, even things like what to do in a fire, or earthquake, or if you get separated from mummy in a busy place - because it actually has a meaning and result. Telling my child about things like this has absolutely NO purpose, except to cause worry. There is, sadly, no precautionary measures that can be taken to prevent these attacks by me or my child.

    Whiskeysour -Interesting you say not to Sugar coat it, then in the next breath do exactly that.

    Telling your children you "will protect them" From a crazed gunman who gains access to their school with intent to kill is a LIE, an absolute sugar coated lie. There is nothing you could do to protect them, and a 5 year old, possibly even a 10 year old, does not need to hear that. Thats why, I would not to talk to them about it in the first place.

  • 1

    Frungy

    An excellent post from kimuzukashiiii,

    kimuzukashiiiiiDec. 16, 2012 - 10:47AM JST To be honest, with very young children I don't see why they need to be "talked to" About it at all. Over Americanized thinking again.

    Precisely. The trend for a while in trauma counselling was to "debrief", i.e. talk about it. A few years later evidence began to mount that this was precisely the wrong approach. Now we know that the most important thing is to restore normalacy in the person (or child's) life, talk about it ONLY if they bring up the topic, and only to the extend that they want to (i.e. let them lead the conversation). You most definitely do not sit them down and "talk to them" about it.

    Of course there is A LOT of news coverage surrounding this, but I intentionally do NOT let my almost 4 year old see this, because I KNOW it would scare my child, and almost definitely give nightmares, or concerns.

    This too. In fact, stay away from the footage yourself. It provokes anxiety in adults and feeds an irresponsible media that, at the end of the day is MAKING MONEY off this tragedy. Lead by example and after obtaining the basic facts, i.e. there was a school shooting and where it was (so you can call friends or family in the area to check everyone is okay), DROP IT.

    The modern media is extremely irresponsible, plastering images and stories about this tragedy everywhere. I like this article since it focuses on educating parents and the general public, and I'd like to see more reporting like this.

  • 3

    smithinjapan

    This article must have been written by Americans. Why else, and in what other nation, would you need to have a birds-and-bees like discussion about shootings with a child when it rarely if ever happens elsewhere? Are Americans THAT accepting of the gun-nut culture that they think, "Sigh... time to have that talk" as though it's a rite of passage?

  • 1

    Himajin

    Thank you, kimuzukashiiiii and Frungy.

  • 2

    japan_cynic

    "Don't worry son, there aren't so many lunatic sociopathic mass murderers here in Japan, and we don't let them have guns anyway."

  • 1

    lostrune2

    Why else, and in what other nation, would you need to have a birds-and-bees like discussion about shootings with a child when it rarely if ever happens elsewhere?

    A lot of 3rd-world nations, which comprise most of the world.

    1st-world people must have it really good to take it for granted.

  • 1

    Cos

    To be honest, with very young children I don't see why they need to be "talked to" About it at all. Over Americanized thinking again.

    Your children live isolated in a cell in the basement ? I understand you don't have them watch the TV news, but that's in papers, in the radio, in conversations everywhere in town, there may be some wreaths of flowers with photos (even in other cities). So how can't they know something big happened ? It's likely they ask about it. Then for the older kids, over 7, I think it just makes it odder if it's not mentioned at dinner table talks like for other matters. Events are scary, but if they become a taboo, that scares even more.

    If a teenager argues that school wasn’t safe for Newtown’s children, parents can offer statistics.

    I don't think it's necessary, unless they ask that. They can look for stats by themselves. Mostly youth want to know "What do you think about it ? How do you feel ? " And it's better to be honest. If you are shocked and worried, well you can't hide it. Admit it.

    Why else, and in what other nation, would you need to have a birds-and-bees like discussion about shootings with a child when it rarely if ever happens elsewhere?

    The context is OK-corral, but you can't say tragedies only happen in the US. What about Breivik in Norway ? That can be in your street next week.

  • 4

    kimuzukashiiiii

    Your children live isolated in a cell in the basement ? I understand you don't have them watch the TV news, but that's in papers, in the radio, in conversations everywhere in town, there may be some wreaths of flowers with photos (even in other cities). So how can't they know something big happened ? It's likely they ask about it. Then for the older kids, over 7, I think it just makes it odder if it's not mentioned at dinner table talks like for other matters. Events are scary, but if they become a taboo, that scares even more.

    Fortunately, my children live in no such place. I don't even have a basement. (Again with the Americanized thinking) And luckily my almost 4 year old does not have the kanji proficiency to read a newspaper at the moment. Plus I sincerely hope that her nursery will NOT be teaching about such things while at school. So I am fairly certain that, unless I tell her, she will not find out. Even if I were to tell, what would I say? a 4 year old can not contemplate such things. It would be an absurd conversation to have.

    The most I have seen or heard about this in Japan (out with the English newspapers) is a brief summary on the news, and the announcement about the 5 Japanese citizens escaping uninjured. No wreaths, no photos. None of my (50) Japanese coworkers had heard anything about it, until I mentioned it yesterday afternoon.

    And sadly, compared to our over-the-pond cousins, we Brits are fairly reserved, and prefer to talk about things other than death, bloodshed, and innocently murdered children over our dinner. I would imagine that most people would agree.

  • 0

    chubu

    Message to my grandchildren: Yes, it's terrible what happens when people have guns like in America. A good thing you don't go to school in a country like that, isn't it? A good thing you have parents who wouldn't let you live in a country like that. You are safe where you live, but still remember to look both ways when you cross the street.

  • 3

    Faderkinta

    Same thing my Mother told me, 'bad things happen your job is to stay aware look around and stay out of trouble. My job is try to make sure we make it through things like that.'

    I still say and will say their are more things to fear than some stupid random shooting. I remember walking home when I was 11 with my little sister who was five years younger, and having bottles thrown at us walking home. I remember having people speed their cars up to try to hit us. I remember a very personal type of violence. I have experience drive-bys and guns in my face but those incidents with guns weren't everyday. Everyday was getting spit on, having things thrown at us and dodging strange adults spouting racist remarks.

    This is just sensationalization for photo ops of basically pale people suffering. I grieve with this people, I do, but on a scale of everyday events having this happen isn't normal. It isn't the standard and you would rarely happen upon this type of violence.

  • 1

    alimel1969

    To be honest, I only skimmed the article. I feel I have too much experience with this now. My eldest was in Kindergarten when Columbine happened. We lived close enough that I had to wait until school lockdown was lifted to pick her up. Since she was so young I only explained that something bad happened at the high school and kept her outside playing and left the TV off that night. I gave no details and answered her questions with some bad people did bad things and people were hurt. Roll a few years and my youngest was getting ready to enter kindergarten when the Aurora theater shooting occured, 5 miles from my home. She didn't have any questions until school started and wanted to know why her new friends daddy was shot and hurt at the theater. Again, a bad man did a bad thing and many people were hurt. Honestly, both girls were way too young when these events occured and didn't ask many questions after my simple answers and that's really all they need to know at their age. I feel that anything more would add or create fear. I think parents best know their own children enough to know how much they can handle and what to tell them.

  • 1

    Zenpun

    It could never happen to you will be a Sugar Coated. It could happen to you will be so traumatic. Life and death is a winning lottery. There will be some middle ground for talking not too fairy or not too realistic. It will take a long time for healing their unpleasant experience.

  • 0

    whiskeysour

    **To - kimuzukashiiiiiDEC. 16, 2012 - 10:47AM JST **

    This is addressed Only to you.

    Over Americanized thinking again.Whiskeysour -Interesting you say not to Sugar coat it, then in the next breath do exactly that. Telling your children you "will protect them" From a crazed gunman who gains access to their school with intent to kill is a LIE, an absolute sugar coated lie. There is nothing you could do to protect them, and a 5 year old, possibly even a 10 year old, does not need to hear that. Thats why, I would not to talk to them about it in the first place.

    Rebuttal statement.... These are kids. I am talking about children from ages 4 - 12. Especially, American children who see gun violence everyday. Like you said, " children ". Yes, they are children. SO, talking like an adult, they might not understand what you are saying. Do you have children or ever taught children before ? If you read my statement I said, " depending on their age and level of understanding "

    The level of understanding of a child between the ages of 4 - 12 is totally different than an adult.

    Many of my high school friends died by gun violence. I am from Bridgeport, Connecticut. One of the violent places in America. One of my family member tried to commit sucide by gun. I am not an expert. But I'm an Veteran of the United States military who also used guns. I do not have a gun or want one in my household. In America, it's the norm to have guns and see guns everywhere.

    kimuzukashiiiiiDEC, I don't want to compete with you or to challenge your opinions. Sounds like your not from America.

    I am from America, and tradgically I was born with guns around my house. Bullets in my father's dresser drawer. He was an Serious NRA member. (National Rifle Association) My father is a veteran from the Army. He had guns and Revolvers all over the house. I seen individual bullets all over the place.

    You can dissect my opinions, and criticize me all you want. Thank you for your response. Everybody has an opinion....

    I** hope one day in America, guns are not the norm. And every doesn't have this " Fear " paranoia to protect themselves with an Arsenal of weapons.**

  • 1

    Dennis Bauer

    I thought they only have to tell their kids "Guns don't kill people, people kill people"

  • 0

    nandakandamanda

    If you don't tell them something, they will hear about it in much more detail from their friends at school.

  • 0

    megosaa

    i will say: "let's migrate to australia.."

  • 0

    Fadamor

    And sadly, compared to our over-the-pond cousins, we Brits are fairly reserved, and prefer to talk about things other than death, bloodshed, and innocently murdered children over our dinner. I would imagine that most people would agree.

    God forbid that the discussion should put a damper on your tea and crumpets, eh? Much better to sweep it all under the rug and pretend it never happened? While I understand that in other countries this incident isn't such a big issue as it is in America, don't even THINK about looking at us down that snooty nose of yours because we have the "gall" to talk about our problems rather than pretend they don't exist. There are times where all that British elitist crap is bearable, but NOW is not one of those times.

  • -1

    volland

    Just tell them the truth. Say its an american tradition to always solve a conflict with violence....

  • 0

    kimuzukashiiiii

    The thing is, Fadamor, It DID happen in the UK. If you google an incident called the Dunblane Shootings, you will find a very similar story to what happened last week in America - crazed mentally unstable gunman who is a mentally unstable loner walks into a school, shoots some kids and teachers, lots of death and sadness. Everyone horror stricken, Prime minister swears it will never happen again, etc.

    The difference is, after that happening ONE time, we made guns incredibly difficult to get in the UK by severly toughening gun laws, which means its never happened again since. Meaning we don't have to worry about it at the same level that Americans do. Meaning we don't have to talk about these things over our dinner tables (or high tea tables, if thats what you prefer.)

    Don't get angry at other countries that you have not learned from your own mistakes about guns.

  • 0

    Homeschooler

    I sat down with my children and explained this was a very rare event, and mass public shootings/school shootings are uncommon in the US, and that Japan, where we live has gun control laws. They wanted to know what to do if it did happen. I told them to play dead, stay very still and dont move until someone you are sure is a good guy comes for you, but that it is incredibly unlikely that they will ever be in that situation.

    The whole thing is horrible, but no less horrible than the civilians and children that die in US sponsored wars worldwide, and I dont see anyone rending their clothes over lost Iraqi child, or Afghani child lives.

  • -2

    volland

    @Homeschooler

    You actually tell outright lies to your children?

    I am sure when they grow up they will be grateful to you for this and become themselves great americans, who will uphold all those gerat american traditions that we talk about here.

    Has the thought occurred to you that there might something basically wrong with a country, where a parent can only teach his kids that the best thing is to stay down and play dead?

  • -1

    Cos

    that it is incredibly unlikely that they will ever be in that situation.

    It's incredibly unlikely your kids will ever go to the US ? I thought you wanted to relocate there.

  • 0

    Homeschooler

    It is very unlikely in the US they will ever be in a situation where they even need to worry about a crazed gunman, Cos. These incidents are rare in the US.

    I home school for different reasons than safety from these rare events, but they wont be going to out to school in the US until they are ready for college, so even with relocation they will not have to worry they will ever be in the exact same situation.

    The fact that shootings of this kind are rare in the US is not a lie. People would do well to calm down, respect the depth of this tragedy and stop using it to pursue their own agendas.

  • 0

    lwsydney

    If nothing else, they need lots and lots of hugs.

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