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In wake of the Connecticut school shootings, what parents should do first

Posted by Dr. Claire McCarthy  December 14, 2012 04:12 PM

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Like everyone, I am devastated by the news of the Connecticut school shootings. I start to cry when I think, even for a nanosecond, of what it would feel like to be one of those parents who lost a child.

It's going to take us a while to process all of this--to understand exactly what happened and why and what we can learn from it. In the meantime, here's what I think parents should do now with their children:

1. Turn off the television--or at least, don't watch any news coverage with your children anywhere nearby. It's too much for anyone (I had to stop watching the one video I saw), let alone a child.

2. Reassure your child that you, and so many other people, are always working to keep them safe. Talk about all the helping people, like policemen and doctors and firefighters. Remind them that things like this are really rare.

3. Hug them. A lot. No yelling at them today. For anything. I mean it. Today is a day to appreciate them and know just how lucky you are that they are alive and well.

 

Here are some videos (thanks to my friend Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson) with advice on how to talk to children about events like these: 

http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/video/aurora-colorado-shooting-explaining-tragic-events-kids-16824791

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3v4ZyirhIs

The American Academy of Pediatrics also has resources on their website to help children and families cope.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About MD Mama

Claire McCarthy, M.D., is a pediatrician and Medical Communications Editor at Boston Children's Hospital . An assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and a senior editor for Harvard More »

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