Local Therapist Offers Tips for Talking with Children About Connecticut Shooting

By Addison Speck, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - The nation remains shocked and devastated after the Connecticut School Shooting that killed 26. Some Cedar Rapids parents told TV9 on Friday they wanted to pull their kids out of school for the day when they heard the news.

"I just wanted to come get him and go to a movie or go shopping or something, just to spend time with him because other parents can't do that tonight," said Tracy Chambers, a parent. Chambers, like many others, never ended up pulling her child out of school in the middle of the day, but she had a big hug waiting when the dismissal bell rang.

"I can't wait to hug him," she said.

Frank Ackley, of Cedar Rapids, was waiting to pick up his grandchildren on Friday and couldn't help but wonder about their safety.

"It's hard telling where your kid is going to be safe at," he said. "I just feel bad for everybody. They are going to have to crack down and make sure nothing like this happens anywhere else."

Several parents told TV9 they were already prepared to discuss it with their children.

"I think it's important for the kids to know. It's sad at this age they have to be on high alert, but they need to know," said Chambers, "There will be a lot of questions, and we might not have all the answers, but we will just explain that there are people out there that need help."

Karol White, a local family therapist with St. Luke's Hospital, offers these tips for talking to your children about it:

*Allow children to express their emotions.

*Parents should express how they feel too, so children understand it's all right to feel a variety of emotions.

*Keep in mind that children react to the stress around them. They will likely respond to the parents emotion.

*Don't over-promise. Telling your children that nothing like this will ever happen to them is not realistic and eventually children will realize that.

*Instead, reassure them about the safety procedures and measures that are in place so they feel safe.

*If your child is not handling it well, utilize other resources like a school counselor to help them get through it.
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