I’m sure we all feel somewhat traumatized and emotionally exhausted from the events that took place on December 14, 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Connecticut. Our hearts go out to parents and loved ones who will begin to bury their children and friends due to those unthinkable events. Most of us are still trying to process how someone could do what was done.
So many questions have been raised.
How do you send you child off to school this morning given the events that just occurred?
1) Evaluate your anxiety as a parent. If you feel highly anxious, you will pass that anxiety on to your child. So get yourself together emotionally, calm yourself down and continue your normal routine.
2) Help yourself and your child with worried thoughts. If your child expresses worry, help him or her take that thought captive (What to Do With Worried Thoughts). The blog will go into more detail but basically you do this by acknowledging the worried thought, then replacing it with a biblical thought or scripture. For example, God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). Then pray for God’s peace. In my book, Letting Go of Worry, I have included a number of scriptures on worry, anxiety and fear.
How do you talk to your child about death and violence? This blog offers specific strategies. 24 Ways to Help Children Deal with Fear
1) How much does your child know? If you child is unaware of the violence, you do not have to talk about it or only talk about it minimally.
2) Let your child take the lead. How much does he or she want to know? Allow him or her to ask questions and follow the lead. You will have much more information than your child so be careful not to go into details your child doesn’t want or need to know.
3) Consider the developmental level of your child. Young children may not grasp the finality of death or are just getting to understand the idea that someone is not coming back when dead. So you have to deal with the appropriate developmental level of your child in terms of explanations.
If you lost a child or an adult, know someone who did or lost a child at another time and this incident is triggering that loss again, read this blog: Coping with the Sudden Death of a Child.
To help with worry, anxiety and fear: