Skip to main content

School Violence

Tough Conversations with Children Regarding School Violence – Back to School on the Suncoast

| Suncoast Post Staff |

Across the country, many parents are facing the end of summer with a mixture of anticipation and dread. Back to school was once about picking out a nice first-day outfit, meeting the new teacher, school supplies, and a return to a familiar routine after a summer break. Unfortunately, in recent times the reality of school violence, including shootings, bullying, and other concerns, make this time of year a bit tougher on parents. Talking to children of elementary age to high school levels can be hard to broach. Here are a few suggestions for how to best broach the difficult topic of school violence with your child.

Reassure Your Child – the news, other children, podcasts, and so many other sources of fear regarding school violence exist and maybe be found by your child. While school violence is on the rise, it remains true that per capita schools are safe for most children. Give them assurances that you, educators, and other adults remain committed to helping them whenever needed. This might sound simple, but saying this specifically can resonate with a child.

Encourage Their Questions – Be sure that you let your child ask questions about specific events, preparing for something that could happen or truly anything they feel during your talk with them. Children like us adults deal better in any situation when they feel they understand what is going on and are prepared for whatever might occur.

school violence
Photo Courtesy of Unsplash

Line Up Resources – There are a lot of online resources, school-provided programs, and tools available these days to address, start the healing process, ensure preparedness, and generally help parents and adults navigate children through traumas at school. Be sure you have resources available if your child has questions or concerns. This step also ensures a sense of well-being for you as you navigate these tough conversations or situations.

Prepare for Ease of Mine – know the plan your child’s school has in place in case of a school shooting or other event. Being able to share those steps in your conversation, and also what you will do following such an event, again gives them a sense of being in control if something should come to pass.

If Something Happens, Let Them Lead – when or if something has occurred that your child was part of firsthand, let them provide the information. Do not get over graphic, or fill in details for them that they are not ready to absorb. Talking might not come for hours or days after the event. Ensure they know they are safe and can talk when able. Allow them to detail what they saw, how they are feeling, and ensure all relevant information is age appropriate as best you can.

Some children may not bring things up because they are genuinely not concerned; others may never bring up the subject even if it’s on their minds; some are afraid of upsetting their parents or teachers by bringing it up, while others are too overwhelmed by their feelings to open up a discussion. As adults, we can at least try to assess how children are feeling in order to decide whether a discussion is appropriate.

We know that the fear of school violence is high among school-age parents, no matter where we live. Educating your children on the topic, giving them safe spaces to talk with you about their fears or experiences, and ensuring you know the resources available to navigate these tough conversations are vital. We know that school violence can occur anywhere and without warning, so giving children, educators, and others the best tools possible to prepare and recover when or should something occur is one of the things every parent can help with as their child heads back to school.

Feature Photo Courtesy of Deposit Photos

Skip to content