After the recent events in Uvalde, TX, many parents are asking themselves, “how do I talk to my
children about gun violence?” As a mother of two, I still question if the conversations I have had
with my children are enough. There have been twenty-seven school shootings this year that have
resulted in injuries or death, and as much as we want, we cannot shelter our children from
learning about these tragic events.
Before talking to your children about gun violence, parents need to process their own feelings.
If you are anxious or upset, your children will pick up on it; it is important to remain calm. You
can start the conversation by asking your child what they already know. As they are speaking,
actively listen to them and gently correct any inaccurate information or misconceptions. All
new information should be simple, clear, and age appropriate. Encourage questions and be sure
to answer them directly. Your child may have difficult questions, for example, they may ask if a
school shooting could happen at their school. Use this time to reassure your child that they are
safe and validate their feelings. Remind your children that it is normal to feel scared and help
them understand that these reactions are natural.
Parents can keep the dialogue open by asking their children what they see at school and
allowing them to share their concerns. Most schools have active shooter drills to teach children
how to respond in these types of emergencies, parents can use this time to review safety
procedures with their children. Help children identify adults at school and in the community,
they can go to if they feel threatened.
Talking to your children about gun violence or school shootings can be overwhelming at first,
the goal here is to empower your child and provide them with the skills they need to make safe
decision in an actual emergency. Lastly, watch for signs of distress. If you notice any changes
in your child’s behavior, for example, your child may be feeling more anxious or angry, they
may be withdrawn with activities, seek professional help. Life Counseling Solutions can help
you and your child process and validate what you are going through.
Read More About the Author: Yaremie Durand