Since we are always trying to maximize the development of empathy in our young people, it is helpful to keep the focus on the people who were negatively impacted by this senseless violence. If your youngster wants to focus on the perpetrator of the violence, you may want to redirect the conversation to the families who were affected by the violence.
It is important to recognize that we really do not know what motivated this act, and to acknowledge with our older children that people always struggle to understand why bad things happen in the world.
As parents, we can deliver a helpful and empowering message to our youngsters that as individuals, we can try to balance out the negative things that happen in the world by being forces for good, both in our communities and in the world at large.
Similarly, while it is human nature to try to impose some sense on the event through speculation about the perpetrator, you can caution your youngster that the really important thing here is that some families who were impacted are in a tremendous amount of pain right now, and that they all have our sympathy.
As with younger children, it is helpful to ask questions to ascertain what they are thinking about, what their questions are, and how do they feel affected by this? If you have concerns about your own individual child, we would encourage you to call, at the middle school, one of the school social workers, or at the high school, your child’s guidance counselor or social worker.