Children’s response to mass shootings


TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT / KSVT) – One impact that is little talked about in the aftermath of the shootings is the reaction of our children. Children have many different reactions to events like Monday’s events, according to a school psychologist, mainly because they look to their surroundings for a way to respond.

He says they look to their peers, but especially to their parents. Dr. Matt Larsen says that setting a good example for your children is the best way to promote a healthy response to tragedies like this.

“Most children, in most traumatic situations, look to other people for how they are supposed to react,” he said. “You tell your kids that you’re not safe, and you’re never completely safe, and I’m never able to keep you safe and you take a little bit of precaution, a little bit of safety, and you just take the rest of the risk and that’s how we enjoy life.

Larsen also says that social media can also have a big influence on how children react to traumatic situations, sometimes in a good way, but mostly in a negative way.

“Social media can be helpful,” Larsen said. “The hard part is how many times it’s not because usually the loudest voice gets out of the ears. And if the louder voice is afraid, the louder voice is anxious, avoidant and blaming, then everyone jumps on it.

Larsen says guiding your children to positive messages that seek to bounce back from the situation, as opposed to messages that focus on the negative, is the best way to promote a healthy response from your children in traumatic situations.

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