How to cope after the Newtown school shooting

Connecticut shooting
In this photo provided by the Newtown Bee, Connecticut State Police lead children from the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., following a reported shooting there Friday, Dec. 14, 2012.
AP Photo/Newtown Bee, Shannon Hicks

Days after the Newtown school shooting, the effects of the trauma are being felt not just in the small town in Connecticut, but across the world. As Newtown residents make plans to put their loved ones to rest, how do we as a nation come to grips with such a tragic and incomprehensible event? What do we tell ourselves? And how do we talk to children about what happened?

From the Associated Press:

Dr. Ani Kalayjian, author of the book "Mass Trauma and Emotional Healing Around the World", discussed the shooting on Eyewitness News Sunday morning.

Dr. Kalayjian, who has worked with survivors of the Holocaust, Vietnam, the Gulf War, and 9/11, says everyone needs to realize the emotional effects of the events in Newtown. "It's like a tsunami, the emotional level, the physical level, the social-economic level, and the spiritual level," she said.

"We are experiencing what is called secondary, vicarious trauma and it's just as serious as the actual trauma because we're witnessing and we can imagine and feel and sense how it is going through that, and these are children that haven't had a chance to live. Of course they're part of us and it affects us all around the world."

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Jane Katch, teacher and author of "Under Deadman's Skin: Discovering the Meaning of Children's Violent Play," will join The Daily Circuit Monday, Dec. 17 to discuss ways to talk to your children about the news.

She helped write some guidelines for PBS about discussing scary news events:

Find out what your child knows about the news.

Listen to what your child tells you.

Ask a follow-up question.

Shield children under age eight from disturbing news.

Avoid repeated TV viewings of the same news event.

Monitor older children's exposure to the news.

Develop an ongoing dialogue with your child about what's happening in the world.

Frank Farley, professor of educational psychology at Temple University and former president of the American Psychological Association, will also join the discussion.


Psychological effects of Connecticut shooting: 'You're looking at a lot of trauma' (Huffington Post)

How to cope with the trauma of the Newtown shooting (Associated Press)

Talking with kids about the news (PBS)

Helping children cope with tragedy (Los Angeles Times)