HOW TO HELP THE KIDS: Talking to your children about school shootings

Joseph Avila, left, prays while holding flowers honoring the victims killed in Tuesday's...
Joseph Avila, left, prays while holding flowers honoring the victims killed in Tuesday's shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, Wednesday, May 25, 2022. Desperation turned to heart-wrenching sorrow for families of grade schoolers killed after an 18-year-old gunman barricaded himself in their Texas classroom and began shooting, killing at least 19 fourth-graders and their two teachers. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)(Jae C. Hong | AP)
Published: May. 25, 2022 at 10:22 PM CDT

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - When talking to your children, start with the truth.

That’s the main piece of advice given by Erica Hochberger with the National Children’s Advocacy Center in Huntsville.

However, be sure to keep the information to what’s age-appropriate.

“And even if you do have a kid who’s particularly curious, I would think about ‘Is the information I’m about to share, is it going to help them, is it going to keep them safe, is it going to keep them comfortable? Or is it going to add to their worries? I would let that be your guide about what to share and what not to share.”

She says children are smarter and more perceptive than adults realize and need an outlet for their emotions.

“All of your feelings are okay and it’s okay to talk about them.’ And I think to just let them know it’s a really sad thing that happened and we all wish there was something we could have done.”

The tragedy in Uvalde, Texas that left 19 students and two teachers dead is leaving parents and caretakers with questions of how they can help their child understand the world they live in.

Susan Brown, the president of the Alabama Education Association believes educators, by nature, are caring and protective people. And they’ll need support too.

“That’s one of the reasons that the Alabama Education Association, we are advocating for more mental health wellness programs for all educators because so much has happened in the last two or three years and we realize how important mental health is for our educators and our students.”

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