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Coping in the Shadow of the Virginia Tech Shootings

The Virginia Tech shootings are horrifying. Within each of us wells up a mixture of reactions: worry, anger, anxiety, sadness and more. We wonder how to respond to our children. We struggle with our own fears and pain. With the help of our Union for Reform Judaism, I offer these prayers, readings and suggestions for how to help children cope. Read prayers.

Helping Children Cope: There is no easy formula for what to say to children following tragedies like the shootings at Virginia Tech. Clearly, the images and discussions of the violence are so prevalent that we cannot completely shield our children from seeing or hearing them. Questions you may face include:

1. Am I safe? Is it going to happen to me?
2. What can we do to help?
3. Why do people hate?
4. Why did they do this to us?
5. What will happen next?
6. Are we in a war?
7. How can we defend ourselves?

Years ago, after 9/11, some thoughtful articles were published on what to say or do with children. Cautioning you that each parent needs to evaluate where each individual child is developmentally and emotionally, I make them available to you again. Remember also that we need to consider both short term worries and longer term fears. Read more.

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