With the increased frequency of mass shootings across the country, parents may be wondering how to handle tough discussions with their children about these atrocities.
It’s not easy to talk about mass shootings with your children. The devastation and death can be hard for kids to handle, and it can be stressful for adults too.
A shooting inside a Texas church is the most recent domestic mass shooting to dominate national news and discussion. A few weeks ago, a mass shooting in Las Vegas was in that same spotlight.
With the frequency of these mass shootings, like the ones in Orlando and San Bernardino, kids are going to ask questions and they might be scared
Ari Regar is a licensed family therapist who has worked here in the Coachella Valley for about six years.
Regar said every child is different, about 7-years-old is the age when children are likely to want to figure out what’s going on.
“Instead of talking at your children perhaps but actually getting their opinions and creating a dialog with them so you can understand what is happening to them emotionally,” Regar said.
It’s also important to focus on letting children know that are not in danger when going to places like church or at public gatherings such as concerts.
It’s not just kids. Regar said some of his patients who are dealing with stress are impacted by the fear that comes with mass shootings.
“When these events happen many people are effected. Many people’s own feelings and perhaps there own mental health issues do become pronounced. They do become exacerbated from these events that occur,” Reger said.
Getting over stresses can be a difficult process but Regar said the key is to keep opening up and moving forward.
“Meeting with somebody like a friend, a colleague, a professional to discuss these feelings and to perhaps gain more perspective and understanding with what they can do as a family to move forward,” Regar said.
Those dealing with fear and stress can lean on their family and community including their place of worship, and if necessary, can get professional help.