How parents should approach their children about school shootings

School shootings may have more of a mental impact on your child’s health than you think, according to many experts.

Psychologists urge parents to be the first ones to start the conversation with their kids, starting with kids as young as in first grade.

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"They may be hearing things and not really understanding what they are hearing and develop misconceptions about what people are telling them. You initiating that conversation as a parent can be helpful," said Dr. Leslie Taylor, a child and adolescent psychologist with UT Physicians.

According to the American Psychological Association, 32% of U.S. parents of grade school kids are very or extremely worried about a shooting happening at their child’s school. 

"Especially in the past few years, even a little bit before the pandemic, what I have seen is that kiddos are afraid to go to school because of violence. That is something that we are starting to see in large data samples," she said.

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The conversation starters are different when it comes to middle and high school aged children.

"I think it’s ok if you feel like your kiddo may not want to talk to you about this stuff or isn’t listening, that it is still important to ask the question: What do you know about this? Do you want to talk about it?" 

Dr. Taylor says in general what we know is the more supportive adults the child has in their life, the better. She recommended the following resources: 

Books for elementary school age-
‘The Ant Hill Disaster’ by Julia Cook
‘Once I was Very Very Scared’

Other resources-