School Shootings & Kids' Fears: Why Parents Need to Listen to Their Children’s Worries by Holly Budde
Both of my girls came home from school yesterday visibly shaken by the horrific school shooting in Florida. My oldest is in high school, and she was upset and empathetic. My youngest, scared.
The mom in me at first panicked. I thought, "I have to do something to reassure them!" Processing those thoughts and emotions, I realized I cannot make this one go away by myself. So I hugged them and opened the conversation to become whatever they needed to say. They expressed to me that I cannot protect them at school. That not only broke my heart, it was the cold truth. I can't say it won’t happen and I won’t be there if it does.
I asked the girls if they have "active shooter drills" at school. They have lock down drills (same thing!). They told me what they do and how it’s announced. I told them both if it ever happens you do exactly what they tell you to do. Your schools work with law enforcement and are trained. This conversation went on and I learned so much about their fears and emotions about this.
Kids need to talk – and they need us to listen! I didn’t make it go away for them yesterday, but I was there to make sure they were heard. I encourage you to let your kids lead a similar conversation.