Talking to kids about Connecticut school killings - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Talking to kids about Connecticut school killings

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The massacre in Connecticut is hard enough for adults to comprehend -- but what do parents tell their children? Scott Riviere counsels children and teens. He advises against exposing young children to pictures and details. "Young kids tend to wonder, 'what if that happened here? What if that will happen here?' And so a lot of times you can help them by helping them to understand that the vent occurred very far away and the odds of something like that happening here are very small."

He says older children's questions should be answered honestly and factually. For instance, rather than trying to predict the unpredictable, perhaps  tell children what is done to protect them at school. "What kids need to know is that they're safe. 'as you know, Our school has things in place that are designed to keep us safe. We have police officers that are on the streets  that keep us safe.  Our school has locks so that people can't get in it. People do have to ring to come in. Our perimeter is secure. We have a security officer."

He says it may be an opportunity to talk about family beliefs and values. "You can use it as an opportunity as a family to really reaffirm your values, what's important to you, what's important about our community. What's important to us and whether, that it's really important that you're safe at school," said Riviere.

And he says it's okay to admit you don't have all the answers."If there's a question they're uncomfortable with or that would involve speculation or they really are asked a question that they don't know the answer to, it's fine to tell a kid, 'I'm not really sure. But I'll pay attention and when I find the answer, I'll let you know."

And Riviere points out that children pick up on parents' feelings and may feel a need to stay close after such tragedy

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