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Talking to Kids After Sandy Hook Shooting

I can’t imagine what it was like for parents to send their kids off to school today in the wake of Friday’s mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

Fear and worry comes with the territory of having children, but you never want to see little ones afraid.

I’m sure most parents considered for at least a few seconds keeping their kids home from school today, to not send them out into a world where unspeakable tragedies can occur at any moment.

Full disclosure: I don’t have children, and I don’t know what it is to be a parent. I only know what it is to be someone’s child, knowing for as long as I can remember that my parents will always do everything they can to keep me safe (even now at 27…)

As an adult, I know that, scary as it is, my parents could not then, and will not ever be able to protect me from every evil in the world. As a kid, I had no concept of how wildly unpredictable and dangerous life can be…and I was completely blissful in that ignorance.

The youngest kids may have no real understanding of what even happened last week. Sure, you could explain it all in detail, or you could let them take the lead…you may find that they haven’t given it a second thought…and maybe that’s okay.

Let’s let those kids be kids. Let’s not scare the daylights out of every child because one sick individual went on a rampage.

Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting vigil
Olivier Douliery-Pool, Getty Images

There really is no way to explain this nightmarish situation to any of us, let alone a child. The best we can do is teach our kids what to do in an emergency, and tell them we love them every chance we get.

Older kids will understand what happened…and will probably have more feelings and questions about it. Be honest and calm with your answers.

Parents are the ultimate role model…if you aren’t afraid of sending them to school, why should they be afraid of going?

I’m sure today’s hugs were extra tight, ‘I love yous’ were extra loud, and pangs of fear and nervousness were extra strong as they left to get on the bus…but all we can do is send them out and hope for the best.

Mama C. works in an elementary school, and yes, the ‘what if…?’ popped into my mind…but living in a constant state of fear isn’t living. Let’s be honest, anything could happen to any one of us at any moment…we have no control over most things that happen to us.

Kids may be scared, confused, and angry about this tragedy…hey, us adults are too. All of these emotions are okay to have. However, it shouldn’t scare any of us into staying shuttered inside our homes.

Those 20 beautiful 6 and 7-year-old children should be a reminder to us of just how precious life is. Their teachers who died doing what they loved should be an inspiration to us all. It’s hard to wrap your mind around something like this…I can only hope they are in a better place. My heart goes out to the victims and their loved ones.

How are you talking to your kids about this situation? Tell us in the comment section below.

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