But watching the unending media coverage- the interviews with third graders, the photos of utter chaos and unthinkable horror will not change life for those families. Making myself suffer through every horrific detail only makes my life worse. Makes my mental health worse. Makes me less able to effectively help my children navigate this horror.
And so, I've tried my best to maintain a normal life for my children. I don't tell them I can't sleep because I'm crying for children and families in Connecticut.
On Saturday morning my husband and I had the most difficult conversation of our lives with our children. Until we sat them down, they had no idea what had happened. How do you tell a ten year-old and a seven year-old that a man killed 20 children in a school? I kept thinking, "I'll just wait 5 minutes. Let them be innocent for 5 more minutes." But we had to tell them. They haven't seen any news, but there's no way in this media age that they wouldn't hear about it from kids at school or on the bus.
Before we sat them down, we consulted a few resources. So today, I offer them to you in case they can help you talk with your own children.
- 5 Tips on Talking to Kids About Scary News from MSN
- A National Tragedy: Helping Children Cope from The National Association of School Psychologists
- Children's Books on Grief and Loss a compilation of resources from "The Classroom Bookshelf" This list provides books you may want to read in the following weeks as your children continue to process these events.
Finally, please take care of yourselves. If you find you or your children struggling, don't be too proud to seek help. If you don't know where to start, try your children's school. School Psychologists and Adjustment Counselors work with therapists and counselors in your area. They can help you find and access resources in the community for you or your children.
If you participate in organized religion, speak to your Imam, Rabbi, Pastor, or Priest. Talk to your friends and relatives. Hold them close.