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How to Discuss the Oxford High School Tragedy with Kids

Okay 2 Say

Dr. Adele Cadieux is a clinical psychologist at Helen Devos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids. She says even hundreds of miles away, the Oxford High School tragedy is leaving an impact on all of us. And, now’s the opportunity to talk to your child about it.

“I don’t think there’s an age limit on when we should be talking about it but we should be asking our kids if they are familiar with what happened.”

Find time to sit down with your child, and have a focused conversation.

“That allows you to address where your specific child is because everyone is different. So, their questions or concerns might be very different from another child.”

According to Dr. Cadieux, a good place to start is to acknowledge that bad things happen. “We don’t want to pretend these things don’t happen, but we follow that up with reassurance so we let them know that a lot of adults around them work hard to keep them safe. You can even identify which those adults are in your child’s life.”

If your child is concerned about going to school, she says keeping them home isn’t the best idea, and that it will only increase their anxiety and fear. Dr. Cadieux suggests addressing their concerns by talking specifically about their school. “All schools do have some safety precautions in place, so talking with them about what those safety precautions are and identify those adults they feel comfortable going to so they have that sense of safety when they go into school.”

She also noted that changes in your child’s behavior could be normal, but as a parent – you’re going to know your child best.

If you, your child, or someone you know is dealing with a crisis, text “HOME” to “741741”.

For those who are struggling with their own mental or emotional health call 1-800-273-TALK.

to submit a tip confidentially on criminal activities or potential harm directed at students, school employees, or schools.