Discussing Mass Shootings with Children

After this weekend’s shootings, many parents are wondering how or if they should try to explain the impossible- why do gunmen shoot people? For children with high anxiety or are highly empathetic, hearing that a child died in El Paso can trigger fear. They may not want to go shopping for back to school at all.

An interesting Twitter discussion I read this morning emphasized that the news media calls white shooters mentally disturbed, but “brown” shooter are terrorists, and black shooters are gang members or are probably drug users

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I also found this chart that indicates that mass shooting 1.) should not just be the random ones, but any shooting, however motivates, that occurs with 4 or more victims, and 2.) defy racial or religious classification.

Although I have recommended it before, please consider reading this excellent book about strategies to deal with angry or violent children. If you are a teacher or a parent, it is a helpful resource. The book can also be bought directly from aha! Process, here: https://www.ahaprocess.com/store/emotional-poverty-book/ .

The best advice I can give you is to listen to your children, be empathetic without enabling their fears, and hug them. Telling children you love them is the most powerful thing you can do to reduce their anxiety.

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