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Talking to your kids about tragedy

Stress and anxiety may be common feelings following Saturday's mass shooting.
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Posted at 10:35 PM, May 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-18 21:08:59-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — In the wake of Saturday’s mass shooting at Tops, several other social media threats have been posted, prompting stores to close, and law enforcement to get involved. The continued stress in the aftermath of the shooting is causing many people to feel anxious and scared.

Mental health counselors like Lynne Shine say it’s normal for you or your children to feel nervous after such a tragic event. Shine says especially when talking to children, focus on the positives.

“Instead of only focusing on the frightening parts, it’s really important to talk about the people that helped, and that there’s lots of people there who are heroes or helpers,” she said.

She says the best thing to do is talk about those feelings.

“Not assuming you know what the child is feeling, but asking them what they’re feeling.”

During a time like this, experts say the most important thing is helping your child feel safe.

“You can use the words helpers to kids, and that when you go to school teachers know how to protect you and that they learn and go to classes just to protect you. Also make sure you’re tying that in,” she said.

Shine says adults may be feeling a lot of stress and anxiety following such a horrific attack. She says it’s important to first recognize the feelings, and take some time to decompress.

“The only way we can disengage from that feeling is doing things that help us calm down,” she said.

Help is always available 24/7. You can call Crisis Services in Erie County at 716-834-3131.