Talking to Children About Tragedies

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EUGENE, Ore. — From anger to fear to utter sadness, families nationwide are grappling with different reactions to this tragedy.

Not only are many of us trying to get ahold of our emotions, but in many cases we are trying to talk about them with our families and our children.

Although there still may be many unanswered questions as to why, experts say just talking about it is healing.

“The first thing is just the shock and pain of it, realizing what families are going to be facing and dealing with,” said Leo Limoges, Eugene Christian School Principal.

That was the initial emotion for many of us as we woke up to the news of a horrific tragedy at a Connecticut elementary school. For Limoges, he couldn’t help but think of the safety of his students.

“Looking back and revisiting, does it make sense what we’re doing? Are we doing everything we can conceivably do?” Limoges said.

But he realizes the reality is no system is perfect to prevent such senseless evil doing.

And at Eugene Christian School, relying on faith is what helps this school community cope with such an unacceptable crime, especially when talking to children.

“We live in a fallen world. These terrible things do happen and we can try to protect ourselves, but we have someone watching over us that’s more powerful than any other being to help and give them a basis of security even though they see families being disrupted,” Limoges said.

Eugene therapist Kathryn Snell-Ryan says opening up communication with your children is healthy. Even if your child isn’t coming home and asking questions, if they’ve heard about the shooting or seen it on TV, they are trying to make sense of it.

“It’s sort of like fitting pieces of a puzzle together,” Snell-Ryan said.

Even if you can’t answer why, therapists encourage parents to address their child’s fears and remind them of their comforts at home.

“Talking to them about how unlikely something like this is to happen and exploring with them the ways that they are safe, who is taking care of them,” Snell-Ryan said.

And while emotions of anger, sadness and fear are normal, don’t carry these feeling alone.

“It’s just really important for them not to carry those around without some support from their parents or their teachers,” Snell-Ryan said.

Many local schools have counselors or staff on hand to provide any grief counseling if needed.


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  1. Ron says:

    Well………….so much for this so called God….
    I have no problem with people that choose to believe that a Jewish zombie that was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and drink his blood and telepathically tell him that you accept him so that he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in all humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magic tree. Why would you not pray that he heals you or that he stops washing Japanese people away like pretzels in an earth quake. Let’s all clasp hands and form a circle and pray to a non existing thing over our dead little kids…………….

  2. Mary says:

    U know ron god is real and he did not want a tradegy like this 2 happen,yes God love,s all his Children even little ones this was the work of the devil not god I am saddened by what Happened we dont know why this young man did only god know,s and the young man will Have 2 answer 2 god 4 what he did by taking all those innocent live,s their was no need 4 him 2 Have taken them…………

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