I have been following the breaking story of the horrific shootings at the New Town, Connecticut elementary school that has resulted in the deaths of at least 26 people including at least 18 children who were in the kindergarten through fourth grade classes. The 24-year-old assassin did most of his killing in the kindergarten class that his mother taught. She was also killed.
As the story has unfolded, psychiatric experts, etc have reported on what we as parents and grandparents of young children need to know. I want to pass that on to you now.
1. Do NOT allow your young children to watch the TV shows or listen to the radio stations that are reporting on this tragedy. This can cause very serious issues now and later in life. Parents might not want to allow any of their underage children to have access to the internet for the next few days. Reports of this incident will be all over the internet.
2. Make sure that you explain to your child(ren) that they are safe at their school. Tragedies such as this happen to very few children. Be truthful but try not to pass on too much information that young children will have trouble absorbing.
3. Allow your child to talk to you openly and as long and often as they need to to discuss their feelings and fears about this.
4. Some of the children will need extra comfort for awhile. They may request that they be allowed to sleep with parents.
5. Some children may be prone to wetting their beds as they sleep for awhile. It is VITAL that we not scorn or discipline the children who have this problem. Do NOT allow anyone to make fun of the child for this. This is a VERY emotional time for most of us who have heard about these senseless killings.
6. If your child(ren) continue to worry about this incident, you may need to seek professional counciling. Your church or local mental health clinics can and will provide this.
7. As soon as you can, restore your child's life to normal. Don't allow him/her to become overly wrapped up in these happenings. I plan on baking Christmas cookies and watching some fun and light-hearted movies with my angels this weekend. We'll be injecting some humor as much as possible. We've all heard the phrase "Laughter is the best medicine." I can't think of a time when healing is as important as it is right now.
It only makes sense that we pray for all of the people who have lost their loved ones today. Our prayers should not stop there. We need to remember all of our country as we all try to wrap our heads around this topic. And...don't forget to thank Our Heavenly Father for keeping our children safe and healthy. An extra hug or two for our children might be just what all of us need right now.
God bless you and yours...