This week, Reddit posted a question to anyone who has experienced a school shooting: what’s it like to go back to school after the shooting?
The post gathered more than 5,000 responses. Some responses came from those who had experienced well-known school shootings, such as those that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary, Columbine High School or Virginia Tech. Others experienced shootings that grabbed fewer headlines, but no less deep an impact; they shared stories of classmates who took their own lives or were victims of domestic violence or other assault.
While the experiences were all different, depending on the proximity to the event and/or to victims or the shooter, one constant seems to emerge: the shooting changed them in some fundamental way. It opened their eyes to the fragility of life, it helped them realize how quickly life could be snatched away. Some indicated they were able to cope with their new normal, others said they had difficulty.
What can parents and other caring adults do to help children cope with a school shooting? A few tips from Psychology Today:
Talk about it, but don’t overdo. Share important information, without going into too many details. Let children lead the conversation, rather they try to reason or explain the situation away.
Limit television viewing. Watching scenes and coverage of school violence can revictimize children and deepen trauma.
Keep routines. The comfort of knowing what comes next might help ease feelings that everything is out of control.
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