FRISCO (CBS 11 NEWS) – The tragedy may have happened 1600 miles away, but at Liberty High School in Frisco, students are grieving.
Often shedding tears, dozens gathered in the school parking lot Friday night to hold a vigil for the victims who died in Newtown, Connecticut.
“I was reading about it, pretty emotional, pretty intense,” said Lauren Tonkovich, who organized the event.
“Everyone can emotionally attach themselves to something like this,” said her classmate, Chelsey Chandler.
For parents, it is a hard topic to tackle.
“Events like today they just totally catch you off guard,” said Kimberly McGaha, who attended the vigil with her two sons, a 7th and 9th grader.
A child neuro-psychologist at Children’s Medical Center, Dr. Pete Stavinoha, suggests starting a conversation with your child by finding out how much they already know.
“I think you can very gently ask your child, ‘Did you happen to hear about what happened in this school in Connecticut today?’” he said.
He advises honest, but age appropriate answers to kids’ questions about the shooting.
To calm their fears, he says, parents can shift the focus of the conversation to discuss what safety measures may exist to make a child feel more protected.
“You can also talk about the record of safety. ‘Nothing like this has ever happened in our school or in our district or in our region,’ so that may help give the child a sense of context, that this is an isolated event,” said Dr. Stavinoha.
He says, doing something helps, too.
Making a donation, writing a letter, or attending an event can give a child a feeling of control.
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