Dealing with Trauma: Advice for Parents
The shooting has left many questions unanswered, but there is one question that should be answered quickly: Just what do we tell our children about what happened? Valerie Gonzalez-Sanchez sits down with a psychotherapist and brings us this advice for parents.
A mass shooting: it's something we as adults struggle to understand, even more when children are involved. But, should we speak to our kids about a parent's worst nightmare?
Jesse G. Hernandez, psychotherapist and licensed counselor says, "It's really important to always talk to your children about feelings. There has to be open communication in this particular incident, because it's so traumatic; children are going to find out about it."
Hernandez says talking is important for parents and children alike, but there are limits to what information children should hear. "Don't let children into these conversations that are for adults only. Don't let young children be part of what's going on in the news in the media, pull them away from that."
The graphic details that should be kept from children, seem to paralyze the nation, but as Hernandez says, it's equally as important to carry on. "So as parents, you want to normalize their lives. Have a routine going. Do things as a family together. Go out and not only do things together as a family, but do things to help others that are in need."
Ongoing investigations and piercing analysis will surely continue revealing more details about the evil that visited Sandy Hook Elementary on that tragic Friday, but it's important to take a step back and consider humanity as a whole. "In general, we are a compassionate people."
Although there is some speculation as to the mental health of the gunman, Hernandez stresses the importance to not stigmatize those who suffer from mental illness. Instead, we should offer support to the troubled and point them towards a professional who could help.