Psychologist shares tips on how to talk to kids about shooting

Psychologist shares tips on how to talk to your kids about the Conn. school shooting

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By JILL MCNEAL
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - It was a question parents across the country struggled with this weekend.

Should they talk to their kids about the school shooting in Connecticut? What should they say?

"The parents must have done a wonderful job this weekend dealing with their children because I've heard from many of our schools and it's business as usual. The kids are focused on their education and the schools seem to be very calm today," said Dr. Clovis Stair, supervisor of psychological services for Knox County Schools.

She said teachers were instructed not to initiate a conversation about the shooting with students, but to be prepared to answer questions.

"We did advise them to follow the children's lead. If they're prepared to go on with the normal day, we should follow that lead. But if they need to talk, we don't want to squelch that," she said.

Dr. Stair gives the same advice to parents. 

"If your child does ask you questions, please answer honestly, remembering their developmental level and not burdening them with details that they don't need to hear," she said.

Even Superintendent Dr. Jim McIntyre, the father of two boys, aged 10 and 12, struggled with how to talk about the shooting at home.

"This is a difficult tragedy to work through. It's difficult to try to explain senseless, inexplicable violence to our children, perpetrated on our children," he said.

McIntyre says it's important to reassure kids that, generally speaking, school is a very safe place to be. 

"A lot of our students, and this is the case with my boys as well, they have great confidence in their teachers and great trust in their principals and have just an absolute abiding faith that we're doing everything we can to keep them safe so that's exactly what we're going to do," he said.

Knox County Schools have more tips for talking to your kids listed on their website

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