In the wake of the tragic shootings in the elementary school in Newtown, Conn., the Maine Center for Grieving Children in Portland and Sanford offers the following guidance to parents who are dealing with their own children’s questions about the incident:
• Be honest with your children about the magnitude of what has happened.
• Allow your children to lead the discussion with their own questions about the tragedy.
• Answer questions the best you can, but don’t be afraid to say you don’t know the answer or to share your personal feelings with your children.
• Give your children a break from the news by spending time doing an activity that you all enjoy or just having quiet time.
• Remind your children of the adults in their own lives who care for them and ways those adults can keep them safe.
• Be patient with your children as they may repeat questions multiple times while they try to process the tragedy.
• Parents may see behaviors such as fear, anxiety, confusion, sadness, helplessness, reluctance to being separated from their parents, reversion to younger behaviors, changes in appetite or difficulty sleeping. Talk about feelings with your children and if negative feelings persist or intensify, your children may need more support.
• Reach out to loved ones, neighbors and spiritual resources to be reminded of the good in your lives.
For more information, call 775-5216 or visit www.cgcmaine.org.