The Connecticut Shootings and Parental Anxiety

December 17, 2012  |  

Twenty first graders, six teachers, and one very disturbed shooter. Like most moms, these sad numbers will ring in my consciousness for months and perhaps years to come.  After I learned about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, I cried for half an hour. Then, after the tears dried, my thoughts turned to my own child.

Could this happen at my child’s school?  Could my baby be in danger?  Should I send her back to school after something like this or did I need to give serious consideration to homeschooling? But I’m no different from all the other parents.  I’m sure that you’ve had the same thoughts and concerns.  And while many experts have been giving advice on how to help our children cope with this tragedy, I’ve been wondering how anxious parents like myself can cope.

According to a Yahoo! News interview with Priscilla Dass-Brailsford, a psychologist at Georgetown University Medical Center who specializes in violence and trauma, fear and anxiety are normal reactions to tragedies like this one. But there are ways that we can cope with our anxiety.  Here are four tips to help your fears subside:

First, as parents we need remember that although these tragedies have become more frequent, they are still relatively rare. According>statics from the Bureau of Justice, multiple victim homicides were just 4.4% of murders in 2005.  So the chance of such an incident happening to your child is very rare.

Secondly, parents should avoid taking in too much information. Some information is important, but constantly watching details about the school shootings on television can heighten anxiety in parents.

Talk to your child’s school administrators to find out what the school’s crisis plan is.  All schools have a crisis or emergency plan, and many of them are improving their plans in light of recent events. Understanding what your child’s school emergency procedures are may make you feel more at ease.

Finally, take some time to talk to your children and make sure that they understand the school’s emergency procedures.  Explain to them the importance of following the school procedures during drills and emergency practices. Knowing how your child will react in an emergency may help calm your nerves.

Living with the fear of our children being a victim of a random act of violence is unfortunately a part of life today.  But this fear doesn’t have to cripple us—life must go on.

Mamas, have you been anxious after this school attack?  How are you coping?

Words: Yolanda Darville

Yolanda Darville is a mom, writer, and blogger focusing on philanthropy and empowering women.  Learn more about her on her blog

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