Not bringing the topic of school shootings up in conversation is not going to make your child stop thinking about What-If situations the next time they step on campus. It won’t make a school shooting any more or less likely to occur. A school shooting may be hard to talk about, but it is a real life concern for all that must be addressed.
A child might have built up anxiety about experiencing a school shooting, and they need to vent their feelings, according to NBC News. Let them talk to you about their concerns and emotions in order to relieve stress. If a child is losing sleep or not concentrating in school over the issue, you may suggest that they reach out to a school counselor or someone specialized in mental health. An average response should last one to two days.
Although you should validate their feelings as being completely normal, let them know that shootings are rare, which is why the media gives these incidents so much attention. Over time, so many back to back reportings of gun violence makes it seem like a common occurrence, but statistically, they have happened on very few campuses across the nation.
Let your child know that schools are looking out for their students too. That is why certain doors are locked or why they make people sign in at a front desk before entering. Schools now have drills where students learn to barricade and hide. Acting out these drills are scary, but it is better for a child to be knowledgeable about what to do in these scenarios.
Encourage your child to get more involved with this issue. Keep the conversation going at home. Teach children to report bullying, harassment, or signs of an upcoming suicide. Have your child seek opportunities to strengthen the community, starting with joining or creating an anti-violence program at his or her school.
School shootings are scary, but we don’t have to live in fear, or else everything in the world would keep us indoors all day.