Talking to kids about tragedy

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Updated: 12/14/2012 11:39 pm
(KRNV, & NBC News) - The tragic school shooting in Connecticut weighs heavily on our minds and hearts, even if we didn't have any personal involvement. It's especially true for children who may be feeling scared after hearing the awful news.

It's natural to want to shield kids from images of tragedy and any news related to the school shooting in Connecticut. The American Academy of Pediatrics released a statement saying young children should not be exposed to extensive media coverage of the tragedy.

Catherine Mogil from Child and Family Trauma Service at UCLA says, “We all want to hear the news, and we want to stay as connected to it as possible, but when we have our kids around us, it may not be the best time."

The A.A.P. and other childcare experts say parents should talk to their children about the shooting, because no matter how much we protect them, it's likely they will hear something in the coming days. If kids don't have all of the facts, they'll make up their own. Mogil added, “One of the amazing things about children is that they create something - a story that makes sense to them if they don't have all the information.”

Child psychologists recommend parents acknowledge how sad and scary the shooting was, but also give kids ways to feel better, like playing with their friends, or getting a hug. They're the first steps in what is sure to be a long healing process.
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