Author of ‘Someone I Love Got Shot’ offers advice about discussing mass shooting in Texas with children

Published: May. 26, 2022 at 5:28 PM CDT

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Many parents may be struggling with how to talk to their children about the mass shooting in Texas that left 21 people dead at an elementary school.

Trouble sleeping, crying and bedwetting can all be signs that the news may have triggered fears or anxieties in a child.

“I mean it’s definitely a lot of anxiety. I try to talk to my kids all the time to make sure they are aware of what’s going on around them,” said Memphis father of two Chester Porter.

Porter says keeping open lines of communication is important and experts would agree.

Experts also say that being honest about what happened when they ask about incidents of violence is important as well.

“Let your children or child know that you are there for them and that you are going to provide as much safety for them as you can possibly provide,” said Memphis elementary school counselor Pearl Bradley.

Bradley spent so much time speaking to children about dealing with violence that she wrote a book about it.

The book “Someone I Love Got Shot” helps children navigate their emotions when dealing with violence.

Bradley says whether they know the victims or not, it can still manifest the same emotions for children.

”They grieve a little different. They may withdraw, they may revert to younger age and time so those are a few things that you need to watch for,” said Bradley.

However not all children will react the same.

As reports of violent incidents become all too common, Porter, who also works with children everyday, has noticed another disturbing trend.

“Definitely numb, definitely, definitely numb to other people’s feelings,” said Porter.

Studies into being desensitized to real life violence is still in its early stages, but studies have shown a link to depression and anxiety.

Experts say watching the news with your child can be your best bet.

It’s also important to ask questions about what they have heard and if they have any questions.

Look for signs that may have triggered anxiety such as trouble sleeping, crying or talking about being afraid.

When children ask you what happened, it’s important to be honest.

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