How can parents talk to kids about school shooting?

Published On: Dec 14 2012 04:35:21 PM CST   Updated On: Dec 14 2012 05:37:34 PM CST
Sandy Hook Connecticut school shooting 11
HOUSTON -

The images from the school shooting in Newton, Conn., on Friday were disturbing to everyone of all ages, but they may make some school-aged children especially scared.

"The children who were exposed to that situation are going to initially experience a horrific amount of fear," clinical psychologist Dr. Xyna Bell said. "There is a possibility that kids will be traumatized by this for the rest of their lives … as an adult. But there is also a possibility that the effect won't be negative.

Bell said that children around the world will feel like their sense of security is shattered.

"Children are curious. Children have concerns. Part of what it has to do with is the uncertainty of their environment," Bell said. "Can they be concerned? Yes. Do you answer their questions directly and in an age-appropriate way? Yes."

Bell said children will be looking to their parents to keep them calm and know that they are safe. She gave these tips to help talk to children:

Behavior – engage in their routine.

Maintain the sense of safety

Talk about what happens when bad things happen to good people, and sometimes bad things do happen.

Reiterate that everything is going to be OK.