In light of the horrendous tragedy that affected so many people in Connecticut, I’d like to provide support to parents/guardians in how to help your child(ren) process their emotions.
First, do your best to reduce television exposure to this incident. Encourage your child(ren) to talk about their feelings. Do your best to maintain your composure when you are talking with your child(ren). Validate your child(ren) feelings. Remind them it is ok to have these feelings. Take care to express to your child(ren) that they are safe at home and school.
When your child(ren) ask questions, keep your answers age appropriate, even if that means separating siblings to discuss the recent event. Consistency is key, so maintain a normal routine in your own home.
Most importantly- Be a good listener!
I wish I had the answers for the adults. Talk; process; know you are not alone in our fears, your grief, your anger. If you find yourself not being able to manage on your own, seek help-from a partner, a loved one, a friend, a professional. Events such as these can trigger feelings and memories that need to be dealt with.
As a parent, I know my anxiety heightens at the possibility that something can happen to my children when an event such as this occurs. Time helps. Going about our normal routine helps. Talking about and acknowledging my fears helps the most.