LOCAL NEWS

Psychologist gives advice for parents to talk to children about school shootings

May 25, 2022, 1:52 PM | Updated: 2:15 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Outrage and heartbreak have gripped the country after 19 children and two adults were massacred at Ross Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

It’s important for parents to know how to talk to their children about this kind of violence. However, some might not know the best way to do it.

This morning KSL TV spoke with Dr. Matthew Woolley, a licensed psychologist and professor at the University of Utah, about some of the basic steps for the most difficult topics.

“You should be a safe place, a safe person for them to come talk to about that,” he said.

Woolley reminded parents that children don’t perceive the world the same way they do as adults. That doesn’t mean parents need to ignore serious news events — even devastating ones — but they have to be careful with how they react first.

“If a parent is really struggling with how they feel about what happened yesterday they may need some time to talk to another adult before they talk to their kids,” Woolley said.

Gunman kills 19 children, 2 adults in Texas school rampage

Breaking it down, Woolley said parents can’t keep things from their children because in the age of information, they’ll likely hear something.

Second, they should check their emotions to see if they need to talk to another adult before talking to their kids.

Third, make sure the conversation with their children is age appropriate.

With elementary-aged kids, don’t get specific and be brief.

When talking with junior high or middle schoolers, parents should ask open-ended questions and find out what their children know and what they want to know. Parents need to be honest, but they don’t have to be graphic.

Last, limit exposure of graphic videos because that can be traumatizing for young children.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

(Utah Highway Patrol)...
Josh Ellis

SLC firefighters battling 2-alarm wildfire near I-215, SR 201

Firefighters have responded to the area of Interstate 215 and state Route 201 due to a 2-alarm wildland fire.
11 hours ago
(Spanish Fork City)...
Madison Swenson

Spanish Fork home catches fire after fireworks spark in outdoor garbage can

A Spanish Fork home sustained major damage Monday night after recently-discharged fireworks sparked a fire in a trash can that spread to the house.
11 hours ago
(Morgan County Fire & EMS/Facebook)...
Josh Ellis

One injured in Morgan County rollover crash

Authorities say one person was hospitalized after rolling their Jeep in a remote part of Morgan County.
11 hours ago
Sharon McMahon has one million ‘Sharon Says So’ Instagram followers. (Sharon McMahon)...
Candice Madsen, KSL TV

Woman behind ‘Sharon Says So’ podcast explains how we stop screaming at each other

Sharon McMahon is known as America's government teacher. Every day, she takes to Instagram, clearing up misinformation with straightforward facts. KSL NewsRadio's Boyd Matheson got some great advice from her about civility for our series, "A More Perfect Union."
11 hours ago
...
Candice Madsen, KSL TV

Why Utahns may need a refresher course in civics education

Civic knowledge is alarmingly low in Utah and across the country. Only nine states require a full year of civics or government studies, and 10 states have no requirement at all.
1 day ago
FILE PHOTO (Deseret News)...
Madison Swenson & Debbie Worthen, KSL TV

Dog dies after being found unattended in hot car

Officials with Salt Lake County Animal Services are reminding Utahns to not leave their dogs unattended in a hot car after one died Tuesday.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...
1-800-GOT-JUNK?

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Psychologist gives advice for parents to talk to children about school shootings