US school massacre: should you shield your kids from the news? Plus, Peter Walsh's view on helping kids feel safe
In devastating news just in, the shooting at a school in Newtown, Connecticut, USA - which left 28 people dead, including 20 school children has gutted an entire nation, and the world. Here is a clip from Obama's statement:
"We've endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years. And each time I learn the news I react not as a President, but as anybody else would – as a parent. And that was especially true today. I know there's not a parent in America who doesn't feel the same overwhelming grief that I do.
The majority of those who died today were children – beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old. They had their entire lives ahead of them – birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own. Among the fallen were also teachers – men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams.
So our hearts are broken today – for the parents and grandparents, sisters and brothers of these little children, and for the families of the adults who were lost. Our hearts are broken for the parents of the survivors as well, for as blessed as they are to have their children home tonight, they know that their children's innocence has been torn away from them too early, and there are no words that will ease their pain." The news is hard to process for any adult, so imagine how hard it is for a child - both the kids at the very centre of the tragedy, the ones attending the school where the shooting happened. How on earth to be ever be truly helped through counselling. The trauma will be deep and everlasting.
And to a much lesser degree for the kids who hear the news all around the world will be confused and frightened.
Says Michael Carr-Gregg - a child psychologist - on 'Sunrise' this morning:
"A lot of parents in Australia need to keep particularly young children away from the TV news. if they do find out about it i think it's really important to tell t hug them, to tell them they're loved, to say we're a long way those sort of things happening here, we love in one of the safest countries in the world, and then to monitor them very, very closely."
In the midst of this insanely hard to process tragedy, how will you shield/explain the news to your kids? And the most obvious question: gun laws: what the hell else will it take to change them in the US? Feel free to comment below. UPDATED: here's what organisational expert Peter Walsh suggests about how to assist your children in feeling safe and making sense of it all, from his Facebook page: HELPING YOUR KIDS MAKE SENSE OF THIS PAST WEEK – I’ve really been struggling this weekend with the horror and sadness at the shootings in Sandy Hook on Friday. Words seem so inadequate. Talking with friends today, however, made me think of one tangible and positive thing you can do if your kids are struggling with being separated from you this week. Remember that I’ve often said that stuff has power. Use this to your advantage. If your child is fearful, consider creating a ‘talisman’ for them. Talk to your child about what’s happened, comfort and console them, ensure them they’re safe. Then, find something meaningful to you or to them – a piece of inexpensive jewelry, a scarf, a special toy, something small but important – that you can give your child and tell them to keep close. Tell them this object is a way for them to remember how much you treasure them and that if they’re fearful at all to hold this item close and think of you and know you’re thinking of them. This is just a small thing that will help make your love and presence more real for your child, even in your absence. Stuff has power – here’s a chance to use that power for good.