In the wake of the recent school shooting tragedy here in Douglas County, many Castle Rock parents are finding this last senseless act has hit far too close to home. Here are a few tips to help your kids process this terrible occurrence.
We can’t make sense of these terrible acts, and this can leave all of us – parents, teens, children, and people of all ages in Castle Rock – feeling angry, frustrated, sad, worried, anxious, ashamed, and/or disconnected. It’s difficult to gain closure when there is so much we don’t know about the situation and what prompted it; and feelings around what happened can seem very confusing and muddled. It’s important that we recognize and acknowledge these feelings, without trying to justify or explain why we feel a certain way. Everyone processes trauma in different ways, so it’s important to be understanding about those who process these feelings differently than ourselves.
It takes time for anxiety to fade, for parents and children to feel safe again, and for emotional responses to settle down. Additionally, you and/or your children may experience physical changes, such as difficulty sleeping, loss of appetite, and trouble focusing on school or work. These are all common responses to such a stressful and challenging event, and these will take time to resolve. We need to be patient with ourselves and our children and teens.
Self-Care and Support
Maintain your routines as much as possible; get rest, drink water, exercise, and eat well, and encourage your children and teens to do the same. It can be very stressful to listen to your child’s fears, to be strong for them while facing your own fears and uncertainties, and to reassure them that they are safe at their school. Talk with other Castle Rock parents, teachers, and caregivers who are going through this experience as well, and help each other. Take time to rest and do things you that you enjoy.
Pay attention to changes in relationships, and encourage more conversations to keep the lines of communication open and ongoing. Talk about feelings without judgment or rationalization. Limit exposure to the media, especially around the event, as this can create more fear and anxiety around the future. Understand that conversations are likely going on at schools throughout Castle Rock and Douglas County, which your child or teen may have overheard or participated in. Let them know you are open to talking about any of their feelings or concerns around all of this. These tips and guidance are summarized from resources provided by NCTSN – The National Child Traumatic Stress Network. For more information, visit https://www.nctsn.org.