Oregon College Massacre: How To Talk To Your Kids

A gunman killed 9 people at Umpqua Community College in southwestern Oregon
A gunman killed 9 people at Umpqua Community College in southwestern Oregon
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     The images from Umpqua Community College massacre in Oregon are hard enough for adults understand.  So, how do you explain the rampage to children?   That can be tricky, says Emory School of Medicine Professor and Grady Chief Psychologist Dr. Nadine Kaslow.   She says, "I think that it's really hard when we don't understand why this happened.  The media gives us this clue and that clue, and then we hear different stories about this.  And, we just don't understand."
 
     Kaslow says children may be feeling vulnerable.  So, she says, parents need to help them talk about their feelings and fears.  She says, "It's extremely upsetting and disturbing to see people hurt and killed. And it keeps happening over and over, right now.  So I think kids getting the sense this is normal, and it's scary to go to school, it's scary to go to church, it's scary to go to college.  And, it's very very frightening."
 
    Experts encourage parent to reassure children they're safe and help them sort through their emotions.  You can start by asking your child how much he or she knows about the story.  Dr. Kaslow encourages parents to consider their child's age and level of understanding when sharing details about the violence.  Younger children may be overwhelmed by by too much information and may need reassurance.  Older children may ask more in-depth questions.   Dr. Kaslow says be as honest as you can.
 
      Now is a also good time to reassure children you love them and will do everything in your power to protect them and keep them safe.  
 
     In the days to come, Dr. Kaslow says try to cut back on how much media coverage your children are seeing, and try to keep the story in context.   Kaslow says "You don't want to have children watching this over and over and over again. And as adults we don't need to be watching it over and over and over  So we need to be updated and informed, but we don't want it to take over our lives."
 
 
       Younger children should not be watching. Older children - see more - help them put in context.
 
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    I think you need to do the best you can to control the media and the message. You don't want to have children watching this over and over and over again. And as adults we don't need to be watching it over and over and over .So we need to be updated and informed, but we don't want it to take over our lives.
 
    Cause traumas to resurface.  Private traumas can bring back memories and painful feelings.
 
 
 

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