How to talk about school safety and shootings with your child

Another tragedy, this time in Texas, has left many parents feeling the same way.

"Horrified and scared and uncertain how to talk to my own kids," Julie MacCartee, a mother of two, said Wednesday in Bethesda.

FOX 5 asked Dr. Sarah Edwards for help on how to talk to your children when tragedies like the one at Robb Elementary School occur.

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Edwards is a child and adolescent psychiatrist at the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital as well as an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. 

"I think kids and families are feeling really confused, overwhelmed, and just struggling, struggling every day," she said.

To get started, Edwards recommends parents ask what their child already knows. She mentioned an old Mr. Rogers saying, "what is mentionable is manageable."

"I think it’s important to really encourage your child to ask you questions and follow their lead," Edwards explained. She added that kids respond really well to knowing how adults are working to keep them safe. "So you can point out all of the things that schools do, starting with, you know, the doors are locked, and they have people check you in."

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Also, Edwards said that while it’s not easy these days, parents should limit kids’ exposure to media, meaning television, social, and even what you talk about at dinner.

"Anytime you’re talking about traumatic experiences or scary things, we can’t keep watching it over and over again," Edwards explained. "That builds anxiety and it kind of tricks our brain into only focusing on that."

She also said that if you’re worried about your child, you should use their pediatrician as a resource.