(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) After the elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, children across the country are left with a variety of emotions and questions.
Parents don’t always know how their kids are feeling or what’s on their minds.
This is why parents should let their children lead the conversations with their own questions.
“We can think they’re really scared and maybe they’re not. Maybe they’re feeling pretty angry,” said Elizabeth Chase, counselor coordinator for St. Joseph’s School District.
Chase says it’s helpful to remember that children are sensitive to their parents’ emotions, so parents should try to model their own emotions in a healthy way.
“If they ask, tell your kid, yeah, I’m really sad about that or yeah, that scares me or I’m angry. But that’s okay. It allows you to validate your kids’ feelings, but at the same time, ending it with ‘but it’s going to be fine,’ also gives your kids a sense of comfort,” Chase said.
Chase adds that it’s important to assure children that the adults caring for them are doing everything they can to keep them safe and maintain stability in their lives.
“Crisis is really unpredictable. And so anything you can do at home to help you maintain your usual routine may actually help that child feel a sense of control and comfort if they’ve lost those things when they sees something like this get to the news,” Chase said.
With the Uvalde shooting so recent and traumatic, Chase said children need to know they can ask for help if they need it.
“I think if you’re concerned that your child might be going on for a while or you’re seeing major behavioral changes, that’s when I would want to contact some of our local resources. You can talk to Family Guidance, the center, Mosaic’s behavioral health. We have a lot of mental health practitioners who would be great resources,” Chase said.
The St. Joseph School District has also suggested that parents limit or monitor their children’s online activity during this time.