It is well known that we live in an age of gun violence, but most parents would prefer to avoid thinking about school shootings. Whenever it occurs, we are triggered and think of them, but then we move on until it occurs again. The end of mass shootings and school shootings is far from certain. This is why it is so crucial for us to talk to our children about gun violence and school shooting.
Many kids are curious about guns and do not know much about them. Most parents who have guns at home will tell their kids not to touch them, and these guns will probably be locked away. How do you handle a situation where your child goes to a friend’s house where guns are not locked up? Even when kids don’t ask about gun safety, it doesn’t mean that they don’t have questions. Your kids need to be educated about guns and gun safety even if you don’t own guns at home.
There is no easy way to talk to your kids about terrible acts of violence, such as mass shootings or school shooting. Where do you begin?
It is sad and unfortunate that school shootings and other mass shootings continue to occur. The goal of every parent is to protect and care for their children, but what can we do to protect our children at school? It is a difficult question, and the best thing parents can do is talk with their children about what to do in the event of a school shooting.
Assure Your Kids That you and Other Adults are doing Everything They Can to Keep Them Safe
Take the necessary steps to make children feel safe. Maintain your normal routine and reassure your child that he or she is safe. Reassure them that adults will do whatever they can to keep them safe, as well as people doing scientific research to help ensure kids are safe.
Let your kids know that the school, the police, and everybody’s working together as a community to help them. Provide comfort and consolation. Don’t discount any emotion or fear that your child might have. Let them lead the discussion.
Don’t Let The TV or Social Media do the Talking
Monitor younger children’s intake of news and keep them away from graphic images. Create quality actions like giving, praying, or sending a meditation to prevent teens from becoming desensitized. Whatever your child’s age is, never lie to them. Support your child while remaining honest. Don’t be afraid to admit you don’t have answers.
It’s important to talk about this with your children and ask them what they have heard and how they feel about it.
Allow Your Child to Share their Thoughts
Further, keep your ears and eyes open so that you can identify if your child has more questions in the future.
It is important to talk to your child honestly about these topics, and it is wise to limit the amount of news coverage they see about shootings if they seem overwhelmed by the fear of school shootings.
In addition to promoting healthy child development, some wonderful resources are also provided for parents, caregivers, and professionals who work with young children.
Make Sure Your Child Understands Gun Safety
You need to have this conversation so they learn about guns from you, otherwise, they will learn about them from someone else, or from the internet. It is your responsibility as a parent to teach your children safe firearm handling.
Don’t tell your child that they are too young to be talking about guns, instead, give them age-appropriate answers that you can build on as they grow.
Why This Conversation is Important
People of all ages, including children and teens, die every year because of guns in America. Because of the frequent occurrence of school shootings, it is vital that we talk with our children about these topics.
Many parents are unsure how to begin this important conversation. Nevertheless, children should be made aware that this is a serious subject, but it does not have to be a lecture. Pick a time and place where everyone can concentrate on the discussion without distractions. There is a good chance that your children are already highly curious so they will pay close attention to you.
Give Them Tools and Skills
it is important for parents to understand that young children and adolescents require a different approach. Parents should start teaching children about gun safety as early as possible. However, the age of the child is not the only factor to take into consideration. Children need to be able to understand the discussion. If you are working with children, make sure they understand some fundamental rules about guns.
Encourage Them to Ask Questions
Asking your children questions will encourage them to ask questions and find out what they already know. If you use real-life examples, they will be better able to understand your rules so they will remember them even if you are not present. As your kids get older, be sure to contextualize your conversations as well.
- You should make sure your child knows the gun is not a toy
- The child should be informed that the gun may look like a toy, but it is not a toy.
- Always tell an adult when you see a gun
- Don’t touch pick up or use a gun without an adult’s permission and supervision
The key to success is repetition
Teach Your Children About Gun Safety
Whether or not you have guns in your home or elsewhere, education and responsible guidance are important for children because in most cases, your lessons are all they have to navigate those situations. When talking to your children about guns, make sure you and your partner are on the same page and talk to your children together as this will help make it a meaningful discussion for you and your family. Talking to your children together will avoid a situation where kids are hearing conflicting messages from their parents.
What is The Best Way to Answer Questions From Your Children?
To reassure them and help them understand the complexity, most parents feel obliged to tell them every detail. Remember that a simple answer is sufficient, and you don’t have to know all the answers.
Each child reacts differently and some may show signs of anxiety or stress. Sometimes children have trouble eating or sleeping, and parents may not be prepared to handle these situations. It would be helpful in this situation to talk with a psychologist or a school counselor
You should always try to answer questions in an age-appropriate way when they ask. When talking to your children about the recent tragedies, open the lines of communication so they can ask anything they are concerned about. You should let them know you are interested in their questions. Make sure your answers are clear and concise without going into too much detail.
By following their lead, you will decrease the risk of them encountering traumatic material. While reassuring them that many adults are doing everything, they can to keep them safe, emphasize their biggest concern. It is important that we talk to children about gun violence and school shooting before school starts so that students are prepared if someone brings up the recent shootings in class or on the bus.