Tragedy In Connecticut: How To Talk To Your Kids

By

sad daughter leaning on mother's shoulder
Reverend Christopher Smith offers advice about what to tell your children.

4. Be honest. The fourth thing is to be honest with your children. If they have questions, answer them honestly in a way that is appropriate for their age. Do not give more information than you need to provide. Use your child's questions as a chance to continue to reassuring him/her of his/her safety. For example, if your child asks if a child their age was killed, in addition to honestly answering, you can reaffirm their own safety.

5. Spend time together. The fifth thing is to spend time with your child. Feeling connected to you is a way to help a child. Spending time with you can be reassuring for your child. You are a source of safety and security for your children, especially little ones. If you're in the habit of reading a story at bedtime, make the extra effort to read a story for the next several nights. Maintain consistency.

6. Use your faith. The sixth thing is to use the season and your faith tradition to help you address the situation. For example, if you are Jewish, continue to observe Chanukah, acknowledging the way God provided light, miracles and wonders and that these are still promised. Similarly, if you are Christian, reflect on the messages of Advent (hope, peace, love and joy) and how these messages are still true for your family. You can also pray for those who were affected by the tragedy, asking for God to be with those who are in that different place as they hurt and grieve.

7. Take care of yourself. Finally, make sure you take care of yourself and how you are being affected by this. Think about who you can reach out to. Draw upon your own spirituality as you work with your child(ren).

It is possible that some children will not be affected by what took place today in Connecticut. That's okay too. As you focus on helping your child(ren) through their responses to the tragedy, you can help them to not be terrorized in the aftermath. Help is out there that will allow you to ensure that you and your children can return to wholeness and peace.

Article contributed by
Advanced Member

The Rev. Christopher L. Smith

Marriage and Family Therapist

The Rev. Christopher L. Smith, LMFT has served as a national leader around mental health issues both within the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and in professional counseling organizations.  He works directly with individuals, couples, families and supervisees as the Clinical Director of Seeking Shalom in New York City.  He also brings his insight to help a wider audience through writing, speaking and consultations.

Location: New York, NY
Credentials: LAC, LMFT, LMHC, MDiv
Specialties: Couples/Marital Issues, Forgiveness, Spiritual
Other Articles/News by The Rev. Christopher L. Smith:

The Real Story of Teen Rapes – More Than Just Football Players

By

As we approach Father's Day and whatever that means for us, we think about how good fathers desire to protect their children, but also are challenged in trying to give them space. In desiring health and wholeness for our children, we want them to be happy, to flourish in what they desire to do, to be protected from suicide, and to be protected from being ... Read more

When Opposites Attract: The Formula To A Satisfying Relationship

By

Normally, relationship experts talk about how similarities help to make a relationship satisfying. However, there are those happy couples that you know where you ask yourself how they have stayed together because they are so different from each other. When I was in my teenage years, I flew across the Atlantic fairly regularly; first when my family lived ... Read more

How Do I Protect My Daughter?

By

Parents understand that it can be very different to raise a daughter than it is to raise a son. There are gender differences and many parents report feeling connected to their children differently based up on their gender. This is something that is normal as they look at their relationship with their children and as they consider how to express their love in ... Read more

See More

Ask The Experts

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

FROM AROUND THE WEB