Psychologists give parents advice on how to talk to kids about school shootings

Psychologist: Stay calm, reassure safety

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - When news breaks of school shootings, protective instincts of parents kick in.

"I wouldn't recommend rushing down to the school and pulling them out of school. You want to try and keep as normal of a routine as possible," said school psychologist Dr. Russell Van Dyke.

With the internet and social media, kids will most likely hear of school shootings while at school.

But at home, "we want to make sure the facts come from us as parents and that they get the reassurance that they are safe," said school counselor April Dominguez.

Dominguez said when talking to your children about the shooting, how you act will influence how they react.

"You want to be calm, very matter of fact. That we're not overly emotional in front of our kids because we don't want to scare them," said Dominguez.

Dominguez suggests asking your child, 'how do you feel about the shooting?' and validate their feelings.

"It's ok to be emotional. Scared, sad whatever emotion they are feeling about it we want to make sure that its ok they are feeling that way," said Dominguez.

Avoid speculation.

"They will already hear that from their peers, they don't need to hear that from us," said Dominguez.

But consistently reassure them that they are safe.

"You want to say this is a really really rare occurrence and now with us you're safe, at your school you're safe. We have all kinds of things in place at school that keep you safe," said Dominguez.

"Let them know bad things happen in the world and we can't always prevent that but we'll do our best to work through it and life generally good and things are going to get better even though bad things have happened," said Van Dyke.


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