How to talk to your children about Texas school tragedy

Flowers are placed around a welcome sign outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, Wednesday, May 25, 2022.jpg
Posted at 2:40 PM, May 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-25 17:56:42-04

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Parents are having tough conversations with their children Wednesday after the deadly elementary school shooting in Texas.

"And all were just in shock," said Palm Beach County parent Kimberly Deorsey.

Deorsey said she was volunteering with other parents when they heard about the tragedy.

"And some of the parents started to whisper about it. They didn't want the kids to know, but we have to talk about. It has to be an open conversation and not something that we hide," Deorsey said.

Deorsey talked about it with her teen son.

"When you do have a conversation with your children, you have to make sure you are coming from a great emotional place, that you are not overreacting," Deorsey said.

"When I first heard the news, I was very sad and I felt bad for all of the families, all of the kids and all of the kids that had to see what was going on," said Remington Deorsey, Kimberly's 14-year-old son.

WPTV asked licensed psychologist Dr. Dawn Silver with the Center for Family Services of Palm Beach County how parents should talk to their kids about a tragedy like the Texas school shooting.

"Age matters in this. So if a child is under five, we obviously have a different type conversation and we see different behaviors," Silver said. "Even kids as young as five can talk simpler sentences. So and so got hurt, or so and so hurt somebody else."

For kids a little older, Silver said those conversations get a little more specific. She said some type of sensory toy for the child during the conversation can help.

"Tactile stimulation. We have stuffed animals around. I have the squishy frog can be tremendously helpful. So the premise is to squeeze while discussing something traumatic," Silver said.

For older kids, limit social media.

"Worry most with them about overuse of social media. So watching things on replay can feel like it's happening continuously, almost on a loop, as well as they can become numb to watching when there's a series of tragic events," Silver said.

To contact the Center for Family Services of Palm Beach County, call 561-616-1222, or the Teen Line Hotline at 1-800-852-8336.