Therapist speaks on how students, parents can cope with losses

Hazel Green community mourning after murder-suicide
Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 8:20 PM CST
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HAZEL GREEN, Ala. (WAFF) - Following the murder of Jennifer, Sean, and Jesse Lepore, parents in the Hazel Green community are having difficult conversations with their children.

Child Therapist Jose Rivera said grief of losing a classmate can be overwhelming for a child.

“Prolonged sadness that continues on can cause depression,” he said. “There could be a sense of hopelessness or helplessness. Some children may feel like if only they knew or some children may feel like they’re going to experience grief.”

He says that it is impossible to keep a child sheltered from tragedy, but you can still support them.

“There’s all these things that children can be exposed to and we have to understand that we can’t protect them from the evils of the world,” he said. “What we can do is support them and help them process and cope through it. It starts with us being that open door and letting them talk to us without judging them.”

Rivera said having the conversation can be difficult but listening is the key to connection.

“Sometimes as parents, we want to work to educate,” he said. “Sometimes just allowing our children to process is key. Praise them for being brave enough to express how they’re feeling. As long as we’re consistent like that as parents, children will be open to try that.”

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