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Helping children cope with mass violence like the Vegas shooting

Posted at 7:27 PM, Oct 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-04 20:18:40-04

How do you talk to your own children about the Las Vegas massacre? And how do you and your child cope?

Today’s world can be a scary place for everyone, especially kids. That’s why groups like Boys Town of South Florida are providing resources for parents to help their children cope with tragedies.

"I have two kids, and I don't know what other people are capable of," said Samantha Prado, a mom of two from West Palm Beach. "It's super super scary how uncertain it is."

Prado said she it's hard to raise children in this day and age.

"When you take your kids out, you don't think hey, something could happen -- you don't walk out your door and think someone could start shooting at everyone around me," she said. "You have to deal with, the fact that you have a life and any day you walk outside, it could end.”

After the Las Vegas shooting, she's wondering how to explain it to her children, especially her young son.

"He's only 4 but he kind of understands the concept of, not death -- but the fact that you're not here anymore and someone else being responsible for that," she said.

Amy Simpson, executive director for Boys Town of South Florida says it's important to let kids talk about their feelings. Don't ignore what happened.

"It's important to keep that open communication. What do you think of that? Does that bother you? Let's try and figure out how we help people," said Simpson.

Boys Town has a list of guidelines to assist parents in talking to their kids. Click here for more.

Prado says Sunday's shooting in Las Vegas is making her rethink future plans.

"Like, maybe we shouldn't go to the zoo today. Maybe we shouldn't go to the park. Maybe we shouldn't go to Disneyland for my daughters first birthday, ya know?” she said.

But Simpson says it's important to keep confidence in the future.

"Tell them 'Things are going to get back to normal. Things are going to be OK. And we're going make it through this,'" said Simpson. "It's also important to show how the community recovers -- by getting involved, by giving blood or raising money."

And know when enough is enough.

"It's important to get back to the normal routines, turn off the TV, limit the media coverage. It's very tempting," said Simpson.

We asked Simpson, how young is too young?

"I think you have to let your child kind of tell you that. If they've seen something on the news that's really upsetting, you have to help them understand that," she said.

Prado plans to keep it honest with her kids.

"I don't like to throw him out in the open and scare him and make him think that everyone he meets is going to be a bad person," she said. "It's not the first even and unfortunately, it's not going to be the last. So with all of it coming, I just try to keep my kids safe, protected and informed."

Continue to monitor your children as the healing process continues, even months after the event.

If you or a loved one needs additional assistance, you can also call their toll free hotline number at 1-800-448-3000.

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