HOLLYWOOD (CBSMiami) – Newtown, Conn. may be more than a thousand miles away, but the school shooting tragedy hits home for parents in South Florida.
Once more they are forced to confront the inevitable questions from their children about this unspeakable tragedy.
CBS4 spoke to parents as they picked up their kids from one elementary school in Ft. Lauderdale about how they would talk to their young children, many the same age of the victims.
“It’s not something to take lightly. We need to pray for those families,” said parent Kevin White.
Julie Kennedy has a preschool child.
“I would tell him the person had problems. He was not happy. Maybe teach them to be a better person,” she said.
Child Psychiatrist Daniel Bober with Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood said any talk has to be age appropriate.
“If they are seven or eight, re-enforce the concept that they are safe at home and in school and that people who do these things need help. Try to re-enforce their sense of security. Let them know there are people who love and support them,” explained Bober.
Bober also said if your children are afraid to return to school on Monday reassure them.
“Explain this happened very far away. You are safe. We will protect you. Nothing bad has happened to you going to school in all this time,” said Bober.
He also stressed that parents should limit exposure of the massacre through TV. coverage and the Internet.
“Unfortunately with social media, kids are being exposed to every gory detail. Parents have to focus on the age of the child,” said Bober.
Parent Kelly Furton said she was trying to figure out how she will explain it to her ten year old son.
“I think it affects his sense of security,” said Furton. “You have to tell them there are good and bad people in this world and we should do what we can to pray for those people and help them.”