COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - In the wake of tragedy it can be hard to decide how to broach the topic of mass shootings with children.
The American Psychiatric Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend waiting to discuss the topic with children until they reach the age of about 8-years-old, but of course, every parent has to make their own decision. Experts also recommend that before you tell your child about what has occurred, that you give yourself time to process the tragedy on your own.
Licensed counselor Tammy Mackins-Hill from “She’s Counseling” in Columbia spoke with us on what she has seen work well when trying to talk about these hard issues.
“First, it all comes down to the temperament of that child and what they can handle,” Mackins-Hill says.
“You don’t want to cause your child post-trauma after a mass shooting...but you also want them to know the truth.”
Mackins-Hill says discussing the tragedy will also require different tones for different age groups.
“For an elementary school child, they want to know, they want to ask questions...for a teenager they like solutions, they are that generation that wants to fight social injustice so we have to be honest with them.”
Mackins-Hill also says taking stock of the child’s emotional well-being after the conversation is key and to be available for follow up discussions.