Talking with children about tragedy


Sunday's nightclub terror attack in Orlando become the focus of worldwide attention since it happened. When police say a gunman opened fire inside the LGBT club, 49 people were killed and 53 others were injured 


When it comes to talking to your kids about what happened, a licensed mental health counselor says parents should process their own thoughts before they try and convey any information to their children. But for some ages, it may be appropriate to not mention the tragedy at all.


"Depending on their developmental stage, under 7 or 8 years old, it's recommended that you may not even need to have a conversation about it," Jessica O'Brien said. "If you're afraid that they're going to hear about it from somewhere else, or that they've already heard something, you may want to have a short sentence.  For example: 'something bad happened, and someone hurt some other people'".


O'Brien recommends listening to your child's questions and feelings, and follow their lead when it comes to having a conversation about tragedy.

"Listen to their concerns. What do they know? You can ask them questions about how they are feeling," said O'Brien. "Limit details and specifics.  They really don't need to know all of the details of what happened.

Experts say parents should refocus the conversation with young children on the positive aspects of their lives and instill a sense of control and safety within the family.

Teens and tweens might know more information from social media and television. But mental health professionals say you should still follow the child's lead and find out what they know after a tragedy.  


"It might point to bigger questions, for example, 'What do you think should happen?' 'How would we fix this in the future so that it doesn't happen again?'" O'Brien said.





49 people were killed and more than 50 people were injured