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November Newsletter

Hilldale Middle School's Newsletter
  November

Tips for Parents:  Talking to your Teen about Violence

By:  Tracy Fenton, M.Ed., NBCT.,  School Psychologist

When a violent incident occurs in school or the community, discuss the event with your child.  Talk about how the violence may have been prevented, or what other choices may have been available.  Provide simple accurate information to questions.  Allow them to tell their stories about what happened.  Listen with your ears, eyes and heart.

  • Provide a supportive and safe environment.  Talk openly about memories – good or bad.
  • If you do not know the answer to a specific question, or if a question can not be answered, be honest with your teen.
  • Talk with your children about your own feelings.  Let them know that you can feel sadness, confusion, etc.  Accept and validate the current and natural feeling responses of your child.
  • Listen to what your children say and how they say it.  Repeating their words and recognizing fear, anxiety, and insecurity is very helpful.  For instance, you can say, “You are afraid that …” or “You wonder if it will happen again.”  This helps both you and the children clarify feelings.
  • Reassure your child:  “We are together.”  “We care about you.”  “We will take care of you.”  Hold your child – provide comfort.   Touching is important for children during this period.  This often “says” more than words.  Touch can say, “I know what happened and I care.”  “I am here if you need me.”
  • Spend extra time putting your child to bed.  Talk and offer assistance.  Leave night light on, if necessary.
  • Observe your child.  Listen to what is said and how your child plays.  Frequently children express feelings of fear or anger while playing games or with friends.
  • Provide play experiences to relieve tensions.  Work with play dough or paint.  Give them something safe like a pillow or a ball.
  • Allow children to mourn and grieve.  Acknowledge the reality that grief hurts.  Do not attempt to rescue the child (or yourself) from hurt.  Work through the pain.  Encourage them to express feelings (talking, writing, painting, yelling, crying…)
  • Realize that grief causes difficulty in concentrating.  Children often experience a shortened attention span.  School work is often affected.  Set realistic goals concerning their behavior, school, performance, and homework.
  • Maintain a daily routine, if at all possible.  Continuity becomes a safety net for grieving children.  The continuity of attending school daily, being required to perform certain tasks in and out of school and having a social routine provides children with some security and sense of stability.
  • Make sure you have resources available, contact the school counselor or school psychologist for additional support.  Continue to be available long after you think they should be over the trauma.

Resources:  American Academy of Pediatrics.,  National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)

Action for Healthy Kids:  www.actionforhealthykids.org

 

For more information and more resources, contact:

Tracy Fenton, School Psychologist at 683-0763 or email:  tfenton@hilldaleps.org

Hilldale Public Schools313 E Peak Blvd.Muskogee, OK  74403

918-683-0273

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