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NEW YORK (CBSMiami) – As conversations continue around the country about school violence and safety, many parents are struggling with what to tell their children.

Child psychologists weigh in on when and what to tell your kids.

Real Hamilton-Romeo drops off her daughter at school with a tight squeeze and the same message: i love you and stay safe.

“The first time at this school, she was a little confused about what was happening,” Hamilton-Romeo explained regarding her daughter’s first active shooter drill. “But then I explained to her why it was necessary and she understood.”

Talking to your kids about school violence is a tough topic.

Psychologist Dr. Lisa Damour is a CBS News contributor.

“We sometimes need to address the news, but we don’t want to have our child losing sleep over events that are relatively low likelihood for them, but are still truly scary,” said Dr. Damour.

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Dr. Damour advises shielding children younger than six from violent or extremely upsetting news because they’re too young to comprehend it.

Ages seven to eleven she recommends asking if they’ve heard about an incident and if they have questions.

And for kids twelve and over, she says it’s important to keep the conversation going.

“I think it’s helpful to be able to say to the children, you know it’s the job of adults to keep you safe,” Dr. Damour said. “You know and we work to keep you safe. And you do drills at school that are designed to do that and I wouldn’t send you to school if I was worried that you were going to get hurt there.”

For Hamilton-Romeo, she says the more she talks with her daughter the safer she feels at school.

“I think more people should talk to their kids, even if it is a touchy subject,” she said. “When we don’t talk to our kids that’s when the fear and anxiety comes in.”

Breaking down that fear and anxiety is now more important than ever.


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