Talking to Your Child About School Violence

Reviewed May 25, 2022

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Summary

  • Look for a real event to provide an opener.
  • Start the habit of discussing these tough issues as early as possible.
  • Don’t worry about having all the answers—seek help from someone you trust.

Reports of catastrophic violence in a school may cause you and your children much anxiety. When you're concerned for your children's safety, how can you help them address their fears of being safe at school?

Should I bring it up?

Regardless of any actual threat to your child's safety, they are likely aware of school violence and may fear for their safety. If you don't talk to them about it, they may rely on other sources for information, such as television, movies, the internet or friends -- sources that may not provide them with the facts or values that you can provide.

When should I bring it up?

If you're unsure of the right time to start a discussion about school violence, look for a real event to provide an opener. For instance, after watching a news report on school violence, ask your child how they feel about the issue. It's also important to talk about the subject more than once, giving your child time to think about their feelings between discussions.

If you have young children, start the habit of discussing these tough issues as early as possible. Studies show that children who start talking with their parents when they're young continue to do so when they're older, instead of relying so heavily on peers and other outside influences for answers.

What should I say?

If you're like many parents and feel you don't know what to say, seek help from your family doctor, member of the clergy, school or other parents. But don't worry about having all the answers. It's OK to admit that you don't know something. That provides a great opportunity to research the solution together.

Often your child just needs to share their concerns and isn't really looking for solid answers. Listen to their fears. They may share your own fears. Don't attempt to downplay them. Instead, discuss them honestly using language that your child will understand. Most importantly, assure them that you will do your very best to help keep them safe.

Summary

  • Look for a real event to provide an opener.
  • Start the habit of discussing these tough issues as early as possible.
  • Don’t worry about having all the answers—seek help from someone you trust.

Reports of catastrophic violence in a school may cause you and your children much anxiety. When you're concerned for your children's safety, how can you help them address their fears of being safe at school?

Should I bring it up?

Regardless of any actual threat to your child's safety, they are likely aware of school violence and may fear for their safety. If you don't talk to them about it, they may rely on other sources for information, such as television, movies, the internet or friends -- sources that may not provide them with the facts or values that you can provide.

When should I bring it up?

If you're unsure of the right time to start a discussion about school violence, look for a real event to provide an opener. For instance, after watching a news report on school violence, ask your child how they feel about the issue. It's also important to talk about the subject more than once, giving your child time to think about their feelings between discussions.

If you have young children, start the habit of discussing these tough issues as early as possible. Studies show that children who start talking with their parents when they're young continue to do so when they're older, instead of relying so heavily on peers and other outside influences for answers.

What should I say?

If you're like many parents and feel you don't know what to say, seek help from your family doctor, member of the clergy, school or other parents. But don't worry about having all the answers. It's OK to admit that you don't know something. That provides a great opportunity to research the solution together.

Often your child just needs to share their concerns and isn't really looking for solid answers. Listen to their fears. They may share your own fears. Don't attempt to downplay them. Instead, discuss them honestly using language that your child will understand. Most importantly, assure them that you will do your very best to help keep them safe.

Summary

  • Look for a real event to provide an opener.
  • Start the habit of discussing these tough issues as early as possible.
  • Don’t worry about having all the answers—seek help from someone you trust.

Reports of catastrophic violence in a school may cause you and your children much anxiety. When you're concerned for your children's safety, how can you help them address their fears of being safe at school?

Should I bring it up?

Regardless of any actual threat to your child's safety, they are likely aware of school violence and may fear for their safety. If you don't talk to them about it, they may rely on other sources for information, such as television, movies, the internet or friends -- sources that may not provide them with the facts or values that you can provide.

When should I bring it up?

If you're unsure of the right time to start a discussion about school violence, look for a real event to provide an opener. For instance, after watching a news report on school violence, ask your child how they feel about the issue. It's also important to talk about the subject more than once, giving your child time to think about their feelings between discussions.

If you have young children, start the habit of discussing these tough issues as early as possible. Studies show that children who start talking with their parents when they're young continue to do so when they're older, instead of relying so heavily on peers and other outside influences for answers.

What should I say?

If you're like many parents and feel you don't know what to say, seek help from your family doctor, member of the clergy, school or other parents. But don't worry about having all the answers. It's OK to admit that you don't know something. That provides a great opportunity to research the solution together.

Often your child just needs to share their concerns and isn't really looking for solid answers. Listen to their fears. They may share your own fears. Don't attempt to downplay them. Instead, discuss them honestly using language that your child will understand. Most importantly, assure them that you will do your very best to help keep them safe.

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