Ideas to talk to kids after terrible events such as mass shootings

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DENVER — Whether you like it or not, mass shootings are in our consciousness.

And a lot of children are thinking about this as well.

“Kids are thinking about this because not only as it’s happening, but even here in our schools we have lock down drills, lockout drills,” school psychologist Angie Wall said.

As hard as parents might try, it’s impossible to shield their kids from the news, the images, the horror of it all.

So, as a parent, just how much if anything do you tell your kids about an unspeakable act?

“It’s super important to look at the age of your child. Developmentally, you’re not going to talk to your 4-year-old the same way you’re going to talk to your 16-year-old,” Wall said.

Wall said the younger the child, the less information they need.

If you choose to discuss the event, Wall suggests not to just focus on the negative.

“If they also see their parents perhaps focusing on the positive part of what happened,” Wall said.

For teenagers, ask them a question or two.

“You might even say, ‘What do you think is going on? What do you think is causing this? If you had to do a research paper on this what are your thoughts about it?'” Wall said.

Every kid is different. There is no one way to talk about it. But Wall said if kids want to talk, then listen.

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