Tag Archives: Connecticut

Talking Trauma With Kids

As human beings, it seems we want to put off having talks about uncomfortable subjects for as long as possible.

I’m not sure it’s possible to put off talking about Sandy Hook elementary school for much longer. When I was at Amazing Elementary School, where I work as a tutor, on Monday, there was a lot of talk about the appalling events of Friday, when a sick man walked into an elementary school and killed 20 students, six teachers and staff and then died himself. This after having already killed his mother in the Newtown, Connecticut home they share.

The talk I was hearing didn’t come only from the teachers, worried about their young charges. The students had also heard about what happened.

I was asked several times what I knew about the incident, as if because I was an adult, I would know all there was to know about, well, everything. Yeah, elementary schoolers are still in that trusting phase. Which makes what happened at Sandy Hook all the worse.

Still, dudes, I think it’s something we need to discuss with our young dudes and dudettes. I know I want my kids to hear about my interpretation of what happened.

These kinds of things, no matter horrific and terrible they are, really are rare. Not rare enough, of course, but they’re not something that happens very often.

I want my kids to know, in general, what they need to do if something like this happens in their school. Hiding or running away from the crazy with the gun is a much better idea than running toward.

It’s the talks like this with younger kids, though, that will take the most effort on the part of parents to make sure they understand. They’re going to be completely weirded out that someone would kill kids their own age. The most important thing you can do, according to experts, is remain calm.

If you’re freaking out about the whole thing, there’s no way the kid will hear anything but your fear.

“You want to do it in an open-ended calm way, ‘this happened,’ ” said psychiatrist and NBC TODAY contributor Dr. Gail Saltzon on Saturday. “But stay calm, because children take their cues from you. If you’re hysterical, they won’t even hear the information, they’ll hear your emotion. You want to be listening to what they are concerned about.”

Be honest, “but don’t over-inform about details.”

No one is expecting you to know everything or be able to guarantee your child perfect safety from the scum-sucking weasels of the world, but you can be there to listen to your child.

Talk to her, give him reassurance. You can offer them love and arms to hug. Give them information about what happened, but don’t put adult fear into young lives. They get enough of that from the real world already.

— Richard

Share on Facebook

A Moment Of Silence

by Richard

I work in an elementary school. I deal with these little dudes and dudettes every single day.

The horror of Newton, Connecticut, is almost overwhelming.

I’ve tried to write this post for most of the weekend and came up with nothing. Every time I try to gather my thoughts, they simply disappear into the well of despair the parents of Newton must be feeling.

Those kids were no older than 10 years old, most not even into double digits. It’s just not right.

No matter what was wrong with the shooter’s brain, no matter what might have led to this. . . It’s just plain evil. Those kids did nothing. Those teachers and parents did nothing.

And now they have to suffer.

And all we can do is watch, and wonder and hope that it never happens again. And, when it does, the whole cycle starts over again with a different group of parents in mourning and a different group of parents watching and wondering and hoping.

There will always be mental illness. There will always be people who are just plain wrong. But we can change things if we make it harder for these people to get at the weapons that make it so much easier to kill others. But that is for later.

For now, all I can do is sit still and sorry and be quietly relieved it didn’t happen here.

Share on Facebook