Talking to kids about tragedy

Published: Mar. 27, 2023 at 11:01 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - A difficult conversation awaits many parents across the country.

A tragedy unfolded at The Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee, on Monday, March 27, where three children and three adults were killed by a shooter.

For the thirteenth time in 2023, a school was targeted, according to EducationWeek.

Where once a parent could easily not say a word, the digital age has changed things.

The National Center for School Crisis said being truthful about the events is imperative, adding that every parent should assess how much information their child can cope with.

“You must base it on your child and what level is your child at, what level do you need to talk to your child about it, what’s their maturity level,” said Lindsey Kelley, a counselor at Douglas MacArthur Junior High School.

Providing honesty is the best way a child can cope with the events, but parents should also not give more information than what is asked because it may do more harm than good.

“I think for an elementary student, you don’t give too much information because, again, you don’t want to spark fear. You want to lead them to understand they’re safe but understand what is happening,” Kelley said.

Providing assurances to children about safety and emphasizing the importance of participating in school drills is also necessary, as it lets them know their school has their safety in mind.

“We always want to reassure our students that we’re doing everything we can to support them and keep them safe, and we’re working at all times,” Kelley said. “That is the number one goal of a school.”

Parents may find it difficult to discuss the matter with their children, but they aren’t alone if they want help.

“I think they can call a school counselor at their school, and those counselors will kind of walk them through what they thought was age appropriate and what information to give and how to support their kid through that process,” Kelley said.