New Mexico School Shooting – How To Help Children

by Dr. Karen Ruskin on December 8, 2017

The tragedy in New Mexico has left many wondering about the different types of responses children may have to trauma, as well as how to help one’s children as the story unfolds. During my interview on NBC News Boston last night where I discussed the New Mexico school shooting, I addressed these two topics as summarized in my blog article below. 

Children’s Response To Tragedy

There are different personality styles and ways in which children respond to trauma and tragedy. A few specific reaction response styles include:

  • Fear
  • Anxiety/worry
  • Anger
  • Action oriented- wanting to do something about it
  • Compartmentalization/disconnection as though it did not happen

How To Help Children Through Tragedy

An additional question asked of me during this interview included: how can parents help children who are hearing about this tragedy? I explained the importance of parents implementing the following:

  • Be supportive
  • Validate your children’s feelings and thoughts
  • Age appropriate discussions
  • Let your children know you are there for them and they can talk about anything with you
  • Answer their questions. If you do not know the answer be honest and research with them the answer.

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