Talking with kids about the Sandy Hook massacre

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• Encourage your children to ask questions now and in the future, and answer their questions. Like adults, children are better able to cope with a crisis if they feel they understand it. Question-and-answer exchanges provide you with the opportunity to offer support as your children begin to understand the crisis and the response to it.

• Share your feelings about the shooting with your children and the strategies you have used to cope with your concerns, sadness or other difficult feelings. If you feel overwhelmed and/or hopeless, look for support from other adults before reaching out to your children.

• Reassure your children that feeling sad, worried or angry is OK. Let them know that it is all right to be upset about something bad that happened. Use the conversation to take the opportunity to talk about other troubling feelings your children may have.

• Do not feel obligated to give a reason for what happened. Although adults often feel the need to provide a reason why someone committed such a crime, many times they do not know. It is OK to tell your children that you do not, at this time, know why such a crime was committed.

• If you have concerns about your children’s behavior, contact their pediatrician, other primary care provider or a qualified mental health care specialist.

For information on how to help your children cope with crises or disasters, visit the website of the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement at

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