How does your family cope after tragedies like the Virginia shooting?

Posted at 7:53 PM, Jun 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-14 20:55:15-04

"It's given me a lot to think about. I hadn't really thought about down the road, how to put it into a digestive form for my kids, because we're in such a bubble at home," Martha Cardon said, as she watched her young boys play at the park.

A conversation about why terrible things happen can be hard for parents. It's happened at movie theaters, schools, marathons, nightclubs, concerts, and now a baseball diamond in Alexandria, Virginia where a shooter targeted members of Congress.

Another parent, Jessica Church, said it's hard to find a balance.

"You don't want them to feel like they aren't safe anywhere, but we also want them to know that there are dangers," Church said.

Church's eight-year-old asks a lot of questions, and she was upfront with him about what happened Wednesday morning.

Doctors recommend limiting your child's access to the news or social media when it comes to tragedies.

"I'd rather my kid hear it from me than somebody else, but you do want to start out with, what do they already know? Because they could have some misinformation about a particular event," Child Psychologist at Children's Mercy Hospital Dr. Bob Batterson said. 

He says next, think about your message — a lot. Your kids should walk away feeling empowered, especially if they're young.

"It might be nice with those kids to point out, you know, there are a lot of good things too, a lot of heroes in the situation. The police, the firefighters," Batterson said.

His third tip — how do you feel about it? Batterson says if you as a parent are terrified or scared, maybe work that out with yourself before you talk to your kids.

Cardon says it starts at home.

"If we are fearful and afraid to go places, then our kids will be afraid to go places," Cardon said.