ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Nashville is most recent deadly school shooting in the country.
Talking to kids about school shootings can be difficult, but is necessary. A local mother of two said that she does not know what to say to her kids, but a local therapist had some advice for bringing up traumatic events while keeping them feeling safe.
“So, I’m not going to lie. When I knew my son was going to be eventually put in a school, that was my one of my biggest fears, was just realizing that anybody can, if they wanted to, they could make their entrance into any school,” said Julie Tiesman.
Tiesman has two young children. She recently had to have a tough conversation with her four-year-old about school shootings.
“It’s hard to explain that to a four-year-old,” Tiesman said. “Like, you have to be quiet. There are not nice people out there and they’re here to hurt you, and I’m not ready for him to know that yet.”
Tiesman said that she makes sure to hug and kiss him every day, because she does not know if that will be the last.
“I drove off after I dropped him off and I feel a little overwhelmed, scared, figuring out how I’m going to get to this school when I do hear about this happening,” she said.
Meryll Cornejo, a therapist at Relevé Counseling, said that honesty is the best policy when talking about difficult subjects with kids because education is key.
“They haven’t heard about it, but bring it up and, you know, stating to them, ‘hey, this happened. I just want you to be prepared in case it hits close to home,'” Cornejo said.
Cornejo encourages parents to listen to and validate their kids’ feelings, and to know that it is okay to get help.
“A parent can tell their children, ‘you know, your teacher or your principal or the professionals at your school is just like me. They’re there to keep you safe and secure, okay,'” Cornejo said. “Make sure to listen to them when they’re telling you something and there’s something going on.”
Both Cornejo and Tiesman said that it is sad they have to do this, but believe that it is for their protection.
“I think it needs to be encouraged that our children are taught and aware that this stuff is serious and can happen anywhere,” Tiesman said.
Therapists said that it is okay for parents to seek help if they do not know how to start up these tough conversations with their kids.