Mental Health Professional Explains How To Talk To Your Children About Mass Shootings

Tuesday, May 24th 2022, 9:30 pm

Our hearts are with the Uvalde community and with kids who might be afraid to step back into the classroom as we learn more about the mass shooting near San Antonio. 

News 9 spoke to a licensed counselor about how to talk with our children as many families watched it unfold in real time. 

Parent-Child Interaction Therapist Amy Summers said now is the time for parents to listen and validate what children are feeling. 

“I think kids just need someone to listen. A lot of kids will be coming with panic, what if this happens to me,” said the Licensed Professional Counselor. 

The Uvalde community is heartbroken after gun violence claimed lives including many students at Robb Elementary. 

Mental health professionals shared advice on how to navigate the devastating topic. 

“Finding out first what your child knows is important. There is a chance that your child doesn’t know what happened yet and I wouldn’t recommend informing them or telling them about the shooting just yet,” said Summers. 

She said parents should be prepared and find out as much information as you can about what happened. 

“Acknowledging ‘yes that is scary’ and that you are always there to talk about anything that they need to. Being open to any questions that your child may ask,” said Summers. 

“One of the worst things that a parent can do is to be dismissive of their child’s feelings. We want to be helpful and say, ‘don’t worry about that’ the child is worried about that and so just saying ‘I understand how you can be feeling that way’,” said the Counselor. 

She added that it is also good to be transparent. 

“I think it is okay for parents to say, ‘I don’t know why this happened'. I kind of look at something like this in the framework of a badge voice. We don’t know why the person made this choice,” said Summers. 

If your child is showing other signs of distress and is withdrawn, acting out, or fearful in public settings, she said it may be a time to seek additional help.