In response to this tragedy, Dan Martin, the Parenting Director for pureHOPE, one of our partnering ministries, has written an excellent article. If you are a parent, I encourage you not to ignore this tragedy, but it is time to engage with your kids concerning what happened.
This article is re-posted with permission. To see the original post, please click here for the pureHOPE blog.
Engaging With Your Kids About the Connecticut Shooting Tragedy
by Dan Martin, Director of Parenting Ministry
The news today of the Connecticut shooting tragedy is devastating. My emotions are all over the place as I write this post. Why did this happen? How could anyone murder innocent children? What “good” could possibly come from this? Why am I so angry about this? And…What in the world do I say to my kids?
I would strongly encourage you to engage with your kids about this tragedy. Here are some thoughts that I hope and pray will help you as you engage with your kids this weekend:
● Affirm your Love and God’s Love for Them – This is a great opportunity to remind your kids how much you love them and how much God loves them. They really need to hear that now.
● Get them talking – If your child is verbal, this may not be a challenge for you. If your child is quiet, you may need to prompt them to talk. Either way, both types of kids need to talk with you and share what they are thinking, feeling and experiencing as a result of this event. Be directive in leading them to talk. “I want to talk about what happened at the school in Connecticut today and get your thoughts and feelings.”
● Ask Questions – Ask them open-ended questions that require more than a “yes” or “no” answer. Have them share their thoughts and feelings. Tell them how you feel. Here are a few starter questions: “Tell me about your thoughts and how you are feeling?” “How did you feel when you heard the news?” “What questions do you have for me?” “When I heard this it made me feel…”
● Hold Them – Let your child bury themselves in your arms. Hold them as you talk to them. Hold them as you both cry.
● Anticipate Bad Dreams and Fear at Night – The first couple of nights after a tragedy like this are incredibly difficult for most children, especially if they are young. Your rules (if you have them) for not sleeping with you or you with them need to be thrown out for a while.
● Inject Some Family Fun – This is not an attempt to avoid the issue, it is an attempt to allow them to think about other things. Tonight might be a great night for a family game night. You may need to limit the amount of news you watch and/or hear.
● Reaffirm your Love and God’s Love for Them
● Pray with Your Kids – Pray for the families who are suffering with loss. Pray for your child and ask God to give them strength and understanding. Invite your child to pray as well.
We would love to hear from you and have you share ideas with all of us for how best to address this with our kids.