Like you, we are shocked and deeply saddened by the devastating act of hate and terror targeting our community that left 49 of our LGBTQA brothers and sisters dead and dozens more injured in Orlando this weekend.
During this difficult time, we would like to provide you with some resources to help you talk with your children about this tragedy in an age-appropriate manner:
American Psychological Association – Helping Your Children Manage Distress in the Aftermath of a Shooting
As a parent, you may be struggling with how to talk with your children about a shooting rampage. It is important to remember that children look to their parents to make them feel safe. This is true no matter what age your children are, be they toddlers, adolescents or even young adults. Consider the following tips in this resource for helping your children manage their distress.
Mayo Clinic – Helping Children Cope: Tips for Talking About Tragedy
When a tragedy — such as a natural disaster, mass shooting or terrorist attack — occurs, it can be hard to talk to your child about what happened. How do you explain it? How much will he or she understand? Find out how to start the conversation and what you can do to help your child cope.
NBC Today - How to Talk to Children About Shootings: An Age-by-Age Guide
The sinking feeling is becoming all too familiar: When mass shootings occur, parents have to figure out how to talk to their children about violence. There's no one way to address tragedies with children, and how parents approach it depends both on the child's age and temperament. The American Psychiatric Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend avoiding the topic with children until they reach a certain age - around 8, but again, it depends on the child.
SAMSHA - Tips for Talking with and Helping Children and Youth Cope After a Disaster or Traumatic Event
Children and youth can face emotional strains after a traumatic event such as a car crash or violence. Disasters also may leave them with long-lasting harmful effects. When children experience a trauma, watch it on TV, or overhear others discussing it, they can feel scared, confused, or anxious. Young people react to trauma differently than adults. Some may react right away; others may show signs that they are having a difficult time much later. As such, adults do not always know when a child needs help coping. This tip sheet will help parents, caregivers, and teachers learn some common reactions, respond in a helpful way, and know when to seek support.
Common Sense Media - Explaining the News to Our Kids
Kids get their news from many sources, which are not always correct. Here are tips on how to talk about the news -- and listen, too.
And as parents, we also need to be certain we take care of ourselves for our children’s sake.
For taking care of yourself, please visit this resource:
American Psychological Association - Managing Your Distress in the Aftermath of a Shooting
You may be struggling to understand how a shooting could occur and why such a terrible thing would happen. There may never be satisfactory answers to these questions.
We do know, though, that it is typical for people to experience a variety of emotions following such a traumatic event. These feelings can include shock, sorrow, numbness, fear, anger, disillusionment, grief and others. You may find that you have trouble sleeping, concentrating, eating or remembering even simple tasks. This is common and should pass after a while. Over time, the caring support of family and friends can help to lessen the emotional impact and ultimately make the changes brought about by the tragedy more manageable. You may feel that the world is a more dangerous place today than you did yesterday. It will take some time to recover your sense of equilibrium. Meanwhile, you may wonder how to go on living your daily life. You can strengthen your resilience — the ability to adapt well in the face of adversity — in the days and weeks ahead.