Greenville therapist gives tips on how to talk to children about - FOX Carolina 21

Greenville therapist gives tips on how to talk to children about school threats

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(File/FOX Carolina) (File/FOX Carolina)
(FOX Carolina) -

Another wave of school threats flooding in, and with every school lock down, parents said they grow more concerned. The question many parents are asking is how to talk to their children about this to make sure they are informed, but not scared.

Upstate therapists said they believe the way parents go about it makes a big difference.

"Nine times out of ten they are going to overwhelm their children,” said Dr. Roger Rhoades. “They are going to give them too much information and the child is then going to be fearful, not informed and protected."

Rhoades says it needs to start with dialogue. He suggests asking a simple question first like, "Does your school have a plan in place?"

"You want to, in a conversation with your child, empower them, not create fear in them and you act like a know it all,” Rhoades said. “Oh that really is poor parenting there. You want your children to believe they are part of a family and a team. A family at home and a team at school and we're looking out for you and you're looking out for us. We're in it together."

He said that's when a child's anxiety, fear and stress starts to go down. The therapist said it's important to make sure they know what to do, but he said you can't overload them with information because it won't stick.

"There might be three pages of stuff that went on, but I need to talk to you in three sentences and help calm your fear and show you how you can handle it," Rhoades said.

It's a conversation many parents said they wish they didn't have to have, but with the increasing number of threats, it's impossible to ignore.

"I battled with whether or not to homeschool my children because of this very reason," said Greenville parent Kelli Oliver.

Oliver has two preteens and she said at home, she stresses one thing to them.

"We tell them their teachers are trained and because they are still so young, we just ask them to stay right with their teachers,” Oliver said. “Wherever their teachers go, they go."

Psychologists said the big take away is make sure you validate their feelings, find a balance so you're not always focused on tragedy and take a break if necessary to set limits on how much you tell your kids to avoid creating fear.

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