It happened again. One of our greatest fears as parents became a reality. Another school shooting, and right here in our state. This time it was 17 students, teachers and coaches. I wish I could tell you all it won’t happen again, but I am afraid I would be lying if I did.
So, what do we do? How do we support our kids after a school shooting?
Talk to your kids
At schools across the country, our kids are practicing active shooting drills on a regular basis. These may also be called lockdown laydown drills. Our children practice hiding in a corner or bathroom with their amazing teachers shielding them. We as parents can help enforced these practices by talking about the importance of these drills. We can also talk about why its important to remain silent, turn off all cell phones, and to be as low to the ground as possible.
Depending on your child’s age, the conversation and words you use may vary. If your child is in elementary grades, you may want to explain things in “bad guy” terms. If your child is in middle and high school, you may want to be more descriptive and use terms like mentally-ill or a troubled person. However, regardless of your child’s age, always ensure them that if they see something, they say something. Meaning, if someone is acting strange, if they see a weapon, if they have heard of someone planning to cause harm, they notify an adult immediately. Encourage them to never be afraid to alert an adult.
Just as we are rattled by the horrific events at Marjory Stonewall Douglas High-school, our children are as well. They are feeling anxiety and nervousness. Talk with them, let them know its normal to have those fears. Remind them that they have steps to keep them safe. Minimize media exposure, as much as possible. Keep a sense of normalcy as much as possible. Empower them to always feel as if they can talk to you or any other influential adult about what they are feeling and what they are experiencing.
One last thing, Mamas love them. I know when you send your babies off to school, it’s hard, especially after another fear becomes reality. But remember, your baby’s teacher and school love them too.
Love them hard, wrap your arms around them, that’s not only for them, it’s for you too. Your high school aged kid is like, “Mom really?”, but yes, really. They needed just as much as you, even if they don’t realize it, it will be good for your souls.