Texas school shooting

 Texas school shooting -  When her 7-year-old Chirios ate a morning bowl, Amy looked at her daughter and wondered if Uvalde, Texas, would start a conversation about the genocide that killed 19 elementary school children and their teachers.

This is a question that parents have to wrestle over and over again because children are shot and killed in their school. That came as a shock to many in Connecticut, where 20 first-graders at Sandy Hook Elementary School died in 2012.

Tuesday's shooting at Rob Elementary School brings back memories of the Connecticut shooting for many residents.

Amy, who refused to give her last name out of concern for her daughter, is a member of Moms Demand Action. He was joined by gun control attorneys, Government Ned Lamont, and other elected officials at a news conference outside the State Capitol on Wednesday to protest the Texas school shooting.

In the end, she decided against talking to her child about it this morning.

"I don't know how to talk to kids about it," Amy said, although she knew it was a conversation that would happen.

State officials reassured local schools on Wednesday about safety protocols, and experts said that honesty was one of the keys to talking to children about the tragedy.

"There's no easy word," said Gary Steak, chief executive officer of Wellmore Behavioral Health at Waterbury and a marriage and family therapist. "It's as tragic as one can imagine, but as adults, we have a responsibility to [talk to the kids]."

Here's how experts advise parents or caregivers to talk about shooting with their children:

Texas school shooting

Start the conversation

Experts say children probably heard about the shooting from conversations, at school or on social media.

A statement from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network said, "If you don't talk about it, things will get worse for your child."
The conversation can begin by asking the child what they already know and gently correct any inaccurate information, say network documents.

Jason Lang, vice president of mental health initiatives at the Institute for Child Health and Development, says it's important to listen to what a child should say and pay attention to their concerns.

Dr. Melissa Santos, a professor of pediatric psychology at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, says it can be easier for young children to have difficult conversations if they enjoy playing outside, walking or painting. .

"It's a way they can feel safe, to be able to associate it with something they enjoy doing with you," Santos said.

Check-in with yourself

Steak says parents should check in with themselves first to make sure their kids are ready for that conversation. If they need to, they can talk to a friend, pastor or mental health professional before talking to the children.

"Parents are the first educators, and it's incredibly important that those who did this crazy thing express some sense of understanding of this horrible thing that happened," Steak said.

Parents and guardians can take the best care of their children if they take care of themselves, experts say.

Let them ask questions

Children may have questions about what happened in Texas. Experts say you should answer honestly and directly.

A pastor of the Rocky Hill Congregational and a member of the Moms Demand Action Rev. Nada Sellers says, “Honestly and simply communicating with the child's questions and a child's experience in the school environment, wherever they are, is really important.

Vendors have worked with the family in times of loss and grief in his role as a priest. She says kids don't need to know every detail of a tragedy, especially if they don't ask about it.

"But they need someone who cares and loves them and answers their questions honestly and clearly and simply," the vendors said.

Caregivers should also keep an open line of communication and make sure children know that they can ask questions later - it's not just a conversation, experts say.

The amount of information a child needs to know will vary between their age and the children, Santos said. Parents know their kids best and can guess what they are ready to hear, he added.

Lang said parents should also try to limit exposure to the media about shooting their children as more details emerge.

"It can be traumatizing to hear about it over and over again," Lang said.

Reassure them

Let the kids know they love and the adults in their lives are doing their best to keep them safe, experts say.

That means, in part, reassuring them that they are mentally safe, Stake said.

"I think as adults we need to provide a sense of security for our children and make sure they know we're going through this," Steak said. "This is a dark day in our country."

Kids can also ask if this is going to happen in their school. This could be something that parents find difficult to answer, experts say.

But they can remind them that the adults who care for them - their teachers, superintendents and parents - are doing what they can to keep them safe, Stake said.

"They need to know that they are loved. Parents and supporters will be there for them. We're doing everything we can to keep them safe. The assurance is that nothing will happen to you as much as we can help," the vendors said.

Some specific issues about security measures, such as door locks, drills or school police officers can help, experts say.

Watch for long-term effects

Children may respond to shooting at different times and in different ways, so parents should contact and monitor their children for long-term mental health effects, experts say.

If they have persistent symptoms over a long period of time, parents can seek professional mental health help.

Some of these symptoms include changes in appetite, sleep, behavior, mood or excessive anxiety, Steck said.

In young children, the symptoms can manifest as persistent headaches or abdominal pain, Santos said.

"I think there's a balance between following it and continuing to check in because we learn more about what happened," Lang said. "You also want to be careful not to ask about it indefinitely. If a child thinks they are feeling better or has less anxiety or questions or concerns, they think they are okay, then it may be time not to." Talk or ask about it. "

Be a role model

Babies can also be worried about their caregivers; They see when parents are worried and upset, Steak said.

"It's important that families stay together," he added. "I know how difficult it will be for some parents to do this, but parents and carers need to take steps to communicate."

Lang said parents can also tell how their children are feeling in an age-appropriate way.

"It's okay for models to have these feelings, and it's important to understand and communicate and talk, even if they feel really sorry and scared," he said.

What state officials say

Governor Ned Lamont recalled his own experience telling children about 9/11 when asked what message he could have had for children.

"It starts by telling people that we love you," Lamont said. "We start telling our kids 'the people at your school love you, and you're safe and they're trying their best to give you some comfort there.'"

Emergency Services and Public Protection Commissioner James Rovella also said the state has taken several measures to keep children safe at school.

The state has spent 70 70 million on 1,693 projects since 2016 to "harden" schools, including improved door locks, in a variety of ways, Rovella said.

He added that since Sandy Hook, communication between nonprofits, places of worship, schools and law enforcement agencies has improved. Schools now have on-campus resource officers, he added.
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