The following article by Lorie Johnson was originally posted on CBN News and is used with permission.
The Parkland, Florida school shooting can traumatize anyone, but can be particularly unsettling to children. Not only can youngsters become overwhelmed with fear of a school shooting happening in their own school, it can destroy a child's overall sense of safety. However, parents can alleviate much of the stress their children are feeling.
Dr. Tim Clinton, president of the American Association of Christian Counselors told CBN News parents might not realize how much their child is thinking about the school shooting spree. "What happens when a tragic event like this takes place is it shatters our sense of safety completely," adding that seeing images of the shooting brings about a sense of chaos in a child's brain.
Therefore, Clinton says parents should talk to their children about what happened. "Thinking that you're going to shelter them by not talking about this? Absolutely no way–they're picking it up on social media. Every kid's talking about what's taken place."
Clinton says while parents may need to bring up the subject, they should try to get their child to express their thoughts and feelings. "Listen," he advised, "Slow this thing way down."
Clinton says parents need to counter the wrong information their child may be hearing, and should be careful to speak to their child in an age-appropriate manner. "They need your presence. They need your wisdom. They need your closeness," he said.
Dr. Clinton says parents should become familiar with ways to help their child deal with trauma which include:
Togetherness: "If you sense your child is overwhelmed, very fearful, they're shutting down or overdosing on social media or television, spend time with them," he said, "Have dinner together, play card games, do whatever."
Touch: "Touch is a beautiful thing at this kind of time, especially with younger kids," he said, "Touch communicates proximity, closeness, safety."
Talk: "Let them know that there are good people, that God's alive. Pray with them and for them. Pray about the situation," he said, adding, "Let them know that God is there in the midst of all this."