Psychologist explains why it's crucial to talk to your children about Sandy Hook school shooting

CINCINNATI - For all the parents who may feel some anxiety before sending their children to school, Dr. John Thomas, a Cincinnati psychologist, said that is a normal feeling after a mass casualty like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut that took the lives of 20 children and six adults.

Thomas works with both children and parents at his office located in East Walnut Hills.  He explained how parents and students should prepare for Monday to reduce their stress level. 

"I think that people should try as much as they can to maintain a normal existence," Dr. Thomas said.

While that is easier said than done, there are things parents can do to ease the stress for their child.

"They want to see if the metal detectors are in place, they see if the cameras are in place and operating," Dr. Thomas said. "They want to make certain security guards are prepped and alert and on point and ready to act."

It is important to relay that information to your child.

"Hey honey, we've talked to the school and they're assuring us they're doing everything they can do make the school safe for you," Dr. Thomas said.

How do you explain to your children what happened at Sandy Hook if they keep asking questions?

"One of the things that could be said to children who are very young, and a little bit older is that sometimes people are hurt and that they're really sad and confused and that they want to take their anger out on people in an inappropriate manner," Dr. Thomas said.

Most of all, it is important not to overreact though, because you will increase your child's stress level.

Dr. Thomas suggests talking to a counselor or even friends and family if you are having trouble coping.

Print this article Back to Top