How to talk to kids about mass shooting incidents

Posted at 9:48 PM, Dec 02, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-02 23:48:31-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- As the country tries to make sense of another mass shooting, many parents are left wondering: how do I explain this to my kids?

As Executive Director of the Children’s Center in Salt Lake City, Douglas Goldsmith says first and foremost, parents need to sort through and manage these tragedies within themselves.

“If we’re going to approach our kids and say our world is a terrible place and this is about World War Three and things are really horrible, we don't want to burden our kids with that,” Goldsmith said.

If your kids are young, in preschool or elementary school, Goldsmith recommends avoiding the topic. However, if they’re older, in middle or high school, Goldsmith recommends the opposite approach.

Goldsmith said: “It's important we sit down at the dinner table and not just let this go, but say, 'What are you guys thinking? What are you hearing from your friends?'"

Many FOX  13 viewers shared their methods on our Facebook page.

Yolanda Leland Kelley posted: “I’ve talked to kids in great detail not gory but common sense enough to understand. This was hard to say but I tell them to play dead and make sure to turn cell phone sounds off quickly hide & escape if possible and when not doing that to pray. I refuse to live in fear but when I think about them being out there all alone it is scary.”

Goldsmith added: “Parents need to reassure them, it's not happening here. It didn't happen at your school. There are plans to keep your school safe."

As these tragedies unfold right in front of our eyes, Goldsmith says, despite what we believe inside, we need to remember that children still need hope.

“Children still have to believe that ultimately good is going to prevail and it's going to be okay," Goldsmith said.