How To Talk To Your Kids About The Colorado Massacre

By

How To Talk To Your Kids About The Colorado Massacre [EXPERT]
4 pieces of parenting advice in light of the so-called 'Dark Knight Rises shooting.'

A few days ago, a deranged* 24 year-old gunman named James Holmes entered a crowded movie theater in a Denver suburb during a showing of the Batman film The Dark Knight Rises, killed 12 people and wounded several others. Holmes took both the joy and life out of what should have been a relaxing evening.

We generally do not associate murder and mayhem with movies. Nor should we have to. But, I am always searching for teachable moments — even in life's most unexpected moments, no matter how wondrous or gruesome. It is my life's work and passion to identify them. And so, I suggest the following to parents:

1. If your kids are very young and seem unaware of the tragedy in Colorado, you should not feel compelled to tell them about it. They may at these young ages be unable to deal with such complicated and confusing information. If, on the other hand, they ask questions then you must explain that yes there are bad people who do very bad things but reassure them that most people are well-intended.

2. If you have tweens or teens — who have likely heard about the tragedy — ask them about their feelings. My best guess is that they are anxious and confused. You will want to help restore faith, reduce anxiety and provide them with some understanding of the event. Listen Up, Parents! 5 Ways To Communicate With Your Kids

Explain that there are disturbed individuals in this world, but they make up the minority of our population. Empower them in the face of a situation where things got tragically out of control. Remind them that if they are concerned about a peer or anyone else's behavior, they should bring it to the attention of a trustworthy adult.

3. Remind your preteens and teens to be aware of their surroundings. If they sense danger, they should try to find a safe escape route for themselves and their friends.

4. Finally, consider reaching out, as a family, to the Colorado families whose lives were forever changed. Involve your kids in this effort.There is great comfort in helping others, compassion, and empathy. It is the human condition to want to help not to hurt.

These suggestions will certainly not bring back those who were tragically killed, or heal the hearts and bodies of those who were wounded, but they may help your own children deal with feelings of bewilderment , sadness and anxiety. Help! I Have Trust Issues Because Of My Childhood

* I use the word deranged because we have not yet learned if anger, mental illness or what else may have triggered this young man's life-shattering behavior.

More love advice from YourTango:

Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Barbara Greenberg

Author

E-mail: bgreenbergphd@hotmail.com

Telephone: 203.246.6741

Twitter: www.twitter.com/talkingteenage

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TalkingTeenage

Television Appearances

Dr. Barbara Greenberg makes regular appearances on talk and advice shows as an expert contributor to discuss critical topics affecting adults, teens and children. (Click here for full listing of notable topics.) Click here for a video sample of her recent appearances.

Speaking Engagements

Dr. Barbara Greenberg provides expert speeches and presentations to large and small audiences from organizations, businesses, and all school levels, including college and above.

Location: Weston, CT
Credentials: PhD
Other Articles/News by Barbara Greenberg:

Beauty: A Blessing And A Curse

By

You may have looked at the title of this article and gotten a bit confused. Beauty as a curse? It seems impossible! For goodness' sake, is there a woman in the world who would not give her right arm to consider herself beautiful? Don't we all want to get that extra bit of attention those effortlessly radiant women seem to receive so easily? ... Read more

Texting Issues: What We Can Learn From Anthony Weiner

By

It's funny how two things that you never expect to happen simultaneously do just that; they happen in almost incredible synchronicity. This week I had the pleasure of doing what I do every summer: talking to teens across the world and exploring the trending issues that relate to them. Well, wouldn't you just know it that this summer I was on a ... Read more

Why Are So Many Teen Girls Depressed?

By

Dear Dr. G., I just read that teen girls are much more likely than teen boys to show signs of depression. This worries me because I have a set of 13 year old fraternal twins and the girl looks like she may be a little sad. Her brother, on the other hand,is happy-go-lucky and nothing can ruin his day. The two of them came into the world differently. My son ... Read more

See More

Ask The Experts

Have a dating or relationship question?
Visit Ask YourTango and let our experts and community answer.