Psychologist: "Talk to Your Kids About the Shootings"

Advice for parents wondering how to explain mass school shootings

By Kim Vatis
|  Friday, Dec 14, 2012  |  Updated 6:03 PM CDT
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Northwestern psychologist says parents need to keep their fears in check and reassure children.

Northwestern psychologist says parents need to keep their fears in check and reassure children.

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Many parents are wondering how to talk to their own kids about the Newtown, Connecticut school shootings that took the lives of 28 people Friday, most of them children.

Northwestern University Medicine psychologist Joshua Washburn says it's important to have an open dialogue with your school-age children, but it's also necessary to keep your own fears in check and aim to be reassuring.

"We can guarantee that our children are going to be talking about this, so if we don't talk about it, then we don't know what they're thinking about," Washburn says. "Sometimes parents want to dismiss it and just get through it. You don't want to do that. You want to validate how they're feeling and talk about how you're feeling,"

Washburn says it's also important not to over think the risks.

"This is an incredibly bad, rare event. We have to remember that this is not something that is likely, so we have to keep that in mind as we go through our day," he said.

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