Upstate psychiatrist shares how to talk to kids about shooting - FOX Carolina 21

Upstate psychiatrist shares how to talk to kids about CT shooting

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GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

In light of the elementary school shooting in Connecticut, parents across the country and in the Carolinas are trying to wrap their minds around what happened.

They're also trying to figure out how to tell their kids, or whether they're going to tell their kids at all.

Upstate experts weighed in on the question of how to best handle this difficult situation.

Dr. Kenneth Rogers, the chair of Greenville Hospital System's Department of Psychiatry, said it's best to allow the child to guide the conversation. It's not necessary to explain all the details, but if they have questions, try to answer them in a way that they can understand.

He said likely kids of all ages will find out about Sandy Hook Elementary, whether from social media or friends, and that it's important to be honest with them.

"The biggest concern that a kid's going to have is first of all, 'Am I safe? Is this going to happen to me?'" Rogers said.

He explained that adults know how to put scary situations into perspective. He said while parents may realize this type of shooting is relatively rare, a child may believe it could happen anywhere at any time.

He said depending on the age and maturity of a child, parents should use judgment in sharing details of the shooting. He said some kids may take the information and move forward as others become more anxious.

Rogers said that a line of communication to their parents is necessary, and he doesn't recommend letting kids watch wall-to-wall news coverage. He acknowledged that "there are times when kids can be traumatized even when they're not there."

He said the reassurance of safety is the most important message.

Rogers said parents can be equally as anxious as kids when it comes to their safety at school, and it's important for parents to be aware of their own anxieties so they don't shelter their kids too much as they move forward from this event.

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