Our children no longer feel safe.
Whether it’s at school, the movies, or the mall, the increase in guns and the decrease in mental health wellness have caused our children to be on edge, afraid for their lives – almost constantly.
Our children no longer feel safe.
When a mass shooting occurs, as they do with sickening frequency, we are always forced to confront many questions. Here at Alzein Pediatrics, the most important question for us and our families is “how can we help our children?”
Turn off the news and deactivate social media accounts.
After you and your child have heard the news and the situation is contained, turn it all off. The relentless recycling of the stories, the politically charged postings and the constant flow of images can make your child – and you – become stuck in the terror of the moment, long after law enforcement has secured the situation.
Ask and answer questions.
Don’t tell your child not to think about it, or say you don’t want to talk about it. Your child needs your emotional support as they piece together their own feelings of shock, outrage and helplessness. If you are uncomfortable discussing a traumatic event, click here for resources that can help you establish a helpful rapport with supportive, understanding affirmations.
Understand behavior changes and get help.
Your child – at any age, including teens – may need to sleep on the floor of your bedroom, or may need to keep a light on all night long. Your child may not want to leave the house, may start having social or academic troubles in school, or may start nervous habits like hair plucking, nail biting or chewing on clothes. You may see bursts of rage, clinginess or dangerous social behaviors. Don’t make consequences your first plan of action. Communicate openly with your child and ask what they are thinking about when these behaviors occur. Talk through their fears and anxieties. If your child continues troubling behaviors or if they escalate, contact your Alzein Pediatrics medical professional and make an appointment. We can determine if your child will need small skills to help them through this time, or if greater help is necessary for your child to be fully healthy again.
Let them have their own voice.
The recent shooting in Parkland Florida has shown us what can happen when students become their own advocates. Encourage your child to become involved. Help them contact elected officials at the local, state and federal levels. Be willing to support them during protests. When your child reaches out to lawmakers, joins in a boycott or contacts a media outlet, they regain a feeling of power and protection.
Support the American Academy of Pediatrics and Alzein Pediatrics in our fight for gun violence prevention.
The AAP has always been an advocate for children and their right to feel safe and to grow up safely. The AAP lobbies to enact stronger gun laws, support violence prevention programs, research gun violence, protect the role of physician counseling and help children and families access crucial mental health services. To read more about the AAP’s position, click here.
If you are concerned about your child’s reaction to any mass shooting or public tragedy, call Alzein Pediatrics at 708-424-7600 immediately or click here. We are here to help all our families live, grow and thrive safely.