Speaking to your children after a traumatic event

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - After traumatic events many parents are left searching for the right words of advice and comfort, to give their children.

One day after the deadly high school shooting in Florida, parents are now faced with tough decisions. A lot of parents also may be asking themselves, should I talk with my children and what do I say?

Child psychologist Dr. Cathleen Rae says listening and talking to your child is the most important thing you can do after a tragic event.

“The first piece of advice for parents is that they be open to conversations with their youngster. I think communication is the most important and we don’t want to sit back and wait for our youngster to bring it up,” Rae said.

She says children are smart, and that you should be honest with them.

“We can try to sanitize our home as much as possible but the kids are on the street talking to each other and the teacher are talking to each other and they are not being mindful to whose around so I think for us to model that it’s okay to talk about it and for us to hope our children come to us,” Rae said

She says the most important thing is that children know that they are safe.

According to Rae it’s best to focus more on family time and what you are thankful for. And that keeping events like the Florida shooting in perspective is a better way to communicate with your kids about the subject of mass shootings.

Rae says talk about it but don’t overly focus on it, it’s important to help them keep living their life without fear.

“Let them know as a parent you understand. That you are there to talk about this with them and that you are not afraid as a parent to talk about this but that you are also not afraid to send your child to school,” Rae said

Rae said it’s important to reach out to a mental health professional if you notice your child showing signs of isolation, depression or other mental health disorders.