In the wake of the double tragedies, many parents are left grappling with how to explain such incomprehensible violence to their children.
Family psychiatrist Dr. Janet E. Taylor told “Good Morning America” she encourages parents to initiate a conversation with their children about the events, saying that it’s not only adults who need to be able to process their emotions.
She suggests asking your children open-ended questions, like if they are aware of what happened, and then talking with them about how they’re feeling about it.
“Think about our role as parents where we are feeling vulnerable ourselves but it’s our duty to create a safe container for our children,” she said. “And by helping them reestablish their safety we also can reestablish our own, because we need a lot of pep talks too.”
Ways to spot if your child may be feeling stressed, anxious or angry about the events that unfolded are if you notice changes in their behavior, apprehensiveness about things they normally do, fear about what could happen in safe places such as schools, churches or the mall, or changes in appetite or sleep patterns, according to Taylor.