More questions than answer emerge from a tragedy such as occurred in Connecticut and many parents are left wondering just how to discuss the deadly shootings with their children.
Director Scot Adams with the State Division of Behavioral Health says we likely will never know why 20-year-old Adam Lanza opened fire in two classrooms at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Before he killed himself, he killed 26 people. Twenty of the 26 were children, First Grade children.
The horror of such slaughter overwhelms us. Adams cautions that providing too much information to too young a child could traumatize the child.
“As you provide additional detail and information that may be nothing that they had been thinking about you run the risk of overwhelming the child with yet more scary stuff,” Adams tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Adams calls this a difficult time for parents everywhere. He says age should guide the information given. He suggests parents give fewer details to younger children. A child’s question should guide the answers; straight to the point without elaboration.
Adams emphasizes that talking to children, talking among ourselves, about his tragedy will be extremely difficult. He suggests parents call the Nebraska Family Helpline toll-free for advice on specific issues at 1-888-866-8660.
“This is just not going to be an easy one to just walk away from,” according to Adams. “It’s tough stuff and the impact is emotionally tugging on all of us.”
The best thing you can do, Adams says, is to assure your children they are loved and safe.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]
AUDIO: Brent Martin interviews Director Scot Adams about shootings in Connecticut. [9 min.]