Thursday's shooting has rocked our community in Lafayette. It impacts everyone - from survivors to first responders to parents to children.

So, as adults and parents, how do we talk to children about the tragic events that happened at The Grand Theatre on Johnston Street?

Jenee Broussard with Healing House highlighted these tips in how to help children cope with the shooting:

 

 

Communicate with your Children: Ignoring the problem will not make it go away. As parents, you are there role models and are looked at as their most trusted source of information. Let them know that having feelings of anger, sadness and helplessness are completely normal in a tragedy like this. It is important to note the age of the children, though. Children 5 years and under, if they were not at the theatre during the shooting, should be shielded from the tragedy. They don't have the processing skills necessary yet to cope with tragic events as adults do. For children above the age of 5, it's important to speak with them, especially in this age of increased media exposure through television, radio and social media.

Limit Media Exposure: One example that Jenee used was the 9/11 tragedy. Studies show that, as the crashes were shown over and over again on television, children got the impression that the events were happening over and over again. So, limit how much your young children watch and listen to coverage of the tragedy at the movie theatre.

Correcting Misinformation: Misinformation can easily be spread amongst children. Make sure your child has the proper information about the shooting.

Reassure Children of their Safety: Make sure you remind children of the heroism that was displayed in the shooting - from the first responders who ran to help the victims to the police who kept others safe.

For more tips on how to help your children cope with the disaster, CLICK healing-house.org.