PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio over the weekend are still on the minds of many Americans. There’s a lot of emotional turmoil and complicated feelings.
The question is: How are children coping and how can we help them?
Ismael Alvarez, from the Children’s Crisis Treatment Center in Philadelphia, joined Eyewitness News on Tuesday. The center treats abused children and those impacted by violence and trauma.
Q: There’s been a lot of coverage of the mass shootings. How traumatic is it for children to see these images?
Alvarez: “It is very impactful and we understand that. Constantly watching programming, coverage of what’s been happening can cause a lot of distress in children. It’s very important, I think, when dealing with children, sort of limiting how much of what they’re watching. And if they’re watching, sort of having conversations with them about what they’re watching and how they’re responding or reacting to what they understand they’re seeing.”
Q: How should parents explain to children what’s happening?
Alvarez: “I think we’re all scared, right? We have to remember that sometimes even for adults, it is very hard to understand what they’re watching, what’s happening. But I think the best way to help children process it is to be who you are as a parent. Express those emotions, let them see you are the role model. They learn, they take their queues from their parents and caregivers and those they fell safe with.”
Watch the video for more tips on how to talk to your children about tragedies.