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How Do I Talk To My Kids About Tragic Situations?

Shooting At Elementary School In Newtown, Connecticut
(Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

A tragedy like the one we have seen today is something that will not fade from memory quickly.  For kids, they are seeing and hearing about something that they can’t process.  So what do you say to help?  Roy Petitfils with Pax Renewal Center had some thoughts that he shared with us.

First, Petitfils says that you need to make sure what you share is something your child is ready for.

Assess the age and developmental level and awareness of your child in relation to this event.

Petitfils said that it is also important to ask questions of your child that are appropriate.  He suggested,

If your kid is asking about it, the first thing you want to do is ask them questions. ‘How do you feel about that.’  ‘What are your thoughts about that.’  Ask guys what they think about it.  Ask girls how they feel about it.

Petitfils also said that kids may eventually come around to the question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?”  He said that we can’t be afraid to answer by saying that we just don’t know.

Petitfils said that kids need from the adults in their life security.  If they are 10 or below, he said we need to make sure that they know it’s going to be okay.  We always want to make sure that we don’t project our own fears onto our kids when we talk with them.

Listen to the entire conversation with Counselor Roy Petitfils below:

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