What Can We Do as Parents and What Can Our Children Do?
Feeling safe is a key element to a happy and successful life. To feel secure we need to have the certainty that things are OK and that we can deal with those situations that are not entirely in our hands.
Our children, as well as parents, need to believe they can take care of themselves when things get tough or when ugly unexpected things happen. Have a plan with your children.
Events like school shootings break the sense of safety, of trust in our schoolmates. It takes us into a negative circle of fear, anxiety, dread and mistrust that isolates us. Isolation is the worst possible outcome as it creates insecurity and possibly the desire for something to happen that will at least take us away from that unhappy world… Instead we need to have and make strong connections, a sense of belonging and trust in each other.
As parents, the best approach is to keep family routines, stay close to our children and open to talk about fears and different scenarios and situations. We must not lie, but the depth of the information our children get should be age appropriate. Young children might have limited exposure to the news, we do not need to get too deep into it with them. With teens however, we need to talk it over, address our fears and have plans in place just in case the worst scenario does happen. Be careful not to turn your child into a fearful and mistrusting person of his schoolmates, that will only hurt your own children and it will hurt the whole school environment and thereby the safety within it.
Remember our children are safer and feel safer when they have someone to trust in the places they’re at.