ABC6/NBC4: Talking To Kids About Traumatic Events
Mental Health Experts Say Each Child & Age Is Different
It has been a violent start to 2018, both locally and nationally. Last month 2 Westerville Police officers were killed after they responded to a hang-up 911 call. Also last month, more than a dozen students and teachers in Florida were killed when a gunman opened fire inside the school.
Both of these incidents were covered by television stations, newspapers, bloggers, and commented on millions of times on social media.
That space can be tough for young people to navigate through, even with guidance from parents or teachers. All too often, young people try to deal with these situations, and their feelings alone.
Dr. Megan Schabbing is the medical director of psychiatric services at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital. She says all of the sorrow both nationally, and locally can be tough to manage.
"If it's impacting us in this way, imagine how it could impact our children," said Dr. Megan Schabbing to ABC6.
Dr. Schabbing says it is critically important to know exactly what your children have access to, what they are seeing, and how they are reacting to that.
"It's really important to limit access to social media for your kids," she said to ABC6. "Small children should not be watching the news in the sense that they should not see real, live clips of these violent incidents."
One of the real keys according to Dr. Schabbing, is you as the parent being that voice your children turn to for answers.
“They’re going to hear it from someone and if they hear it from someone other than you, then you can’t control how they may react or how they feel, you can’t support them and you can’t make sure that they’re hearing the truth,” she said to NBC4.
Dr. Schabbing says direct answers and avoiding excess details can be key.
“First and foremost I would start out by saying, ‘What have you heard?’ So, right off the bat, you want to clear up any kind of misinformation that you kids may have gotten from peers,” she said to reporter Courtney Yuen.
Additional information on talking to your kids, check out healthychildren.org