Channel 8 Interview on Talking to Children About the Tragedy in Connecticut
View and share video of Dr. Schwall's interview on Dallas/Fort Worth's ABC affiliate and his tips on talking to children about the tragic school shooting in Connecticut with parents, mentors, educators, and schools. E-mail or post this link on your school web site: www.coolkidschannel.com/home/tragedy_interview
Tragedy Talking Points, by Dr. Brad Schwall
The following guidelines may
help you in addressing the incident with your children based on the information currently known about the tragedy to this point.
- Avoid exposing children to
too much media coverage.
- Avoid fostering rumors and
speculation about the tragedy.
Age and Stage Responses
grade – discuss the incident only if the child has heard any of the news. There is no need to inform the child of the
tragedy if the child does not know about it.
graders are more likely to have heard the news.
Decide whether to bring the issue up with 3rd and 4th
graders based on their temperaments.
Check for what your child
knows – Ask, “What have you heard today?"
You may choose to approach
the subject with children in 6th grade and older.
No matter your child’s age,
consider the following responses based on how you believe you need to address the tragedy with your
- The tragedy is isolated and
tragedies like this happen rarely.
- The fact that this tragedy happened does not mean
there is an immediate danger where you live.
- Emphasize that safety
precautions are in place in schools.
- Reflect what your child may
be feeling – “I know this is scary news. It is very sad.”
- Emphasize empathy for the
victims – “It is very sad that this happened to those families and children.”
- Teenagers may reflect on the fragile nature of life and the unpredictability of life.
The conversation may focus on:
- Validating your child's feelings - it is OK to feel scared or sad
- Emphasizing that your child is safe
- Empathizing with the victims
Dr. Brad Schwall
Permission granted to re-distribute these tips.