Talking to your Children about Trauma & School Shootings

For the last several years, it feels like violence in the United States has been non-stop. These last several weeks especially have been fatal and the violence against women, children, and communities across the world has felt inescapable at times. With the recent school shooting in Texas, we at the Arizona Center For Marriage and Family Therapy urge you to embrace your families and loved ones today and take the time to talk about and process this terrible tragedy now.

Secondary trauma is trauma that is experienced indirectly from watching others experiences of trauma and manifests similarly as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), with many people experiencing increased anxiety, depression, difficulty sleeping or eating, and many other disruptive and difficult symptoms. Children are of particular concern when it comes to this type of trauma because of their access to the internet and social media when universal tragedies occur, and the potential life long consequences that can come with experiencing such trauma at a young age. As such, it is important that you talk to your children, and even other family members and loved ones, about the ways they can process secondary trauma. The following are some tips provided by a recent Washington post article on how to talk to your children about this recent school shooting:

Talk to your child about the potential harm that comes with the overconsumption of media and news & encourage them to limit their screen time.

Help your child understand their emotions and yours.

Talk to your child about what happened in language they can understand, while also honoring how intelligent & perceptive children can be.

Let your child guide the conversation, avoid oversharing.

Find ways to help your child feel a sense of safety & a sense of control.

Create opportunities for community & connection with your child.

Provide consistent routine & structure for your child.

Need help with navigating these conversations & difficult times? You can schedule an appointment with one of our therapists today by the “Schedule Now” button in the top right hand corner or by clicking here.


Photo by Jordan Whitt on Unsplash.

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