Helping Children Deal with Grief

Local News

We all stood in shock as we heard the news of 49 people being killed in an Orlando night club. Many can agree that explaining tragedy to children doesn’t come easy. News Center 23’s Amy Martinez spoke to parents about how they deal with such a sensitive topic.

So can you tell me a little bit about what you saw about the Orlando shooting recently?

Juan Rodriguez, “It was bad and there are a lot of dead people. They aren’t supposed to do that and they will go to jail.”

Even at nine years old, little Juan was impacted by the shootings in Orlando. Parents may be faced with the difficulty of explaining tragic events to their kids and it’s always anything but easy.

Oscar Saenz, a parent says, “It was very difficult, we just explained to him that there’s some people that just don’t like the way we live our life here in the United States.”

Melissa Mendoza, mother of two says, “She does have questions and she asked me ‘why would something like this happen’ and I basically told her that there’s people with hate in their hearts.”

A local child counselor says the most important thing parents should do is make sure their children feel safe.

Dr. Naila Jasso, “Parents need to keep a close eye, observe the child, and have that open relationship. Have the child feel safe so that they can talk to their parents.”

Dr. Jasso says both younger and older children can experience the same amount of mental trauma.

Dr. Jasso, “A two year old can be affected with the same degree as a seven year old. They’re going to express trauma differently, they might react differently, but they could still express trauma at the same level.”

Some common signs of trauma may include,

“Some nervousness, anxiety, not wanting to go to school or keeping away from friends or just wanting to be in their room and not get out.”

Dr. Jasso says parents should seek professional help if their children start to show signs of trauma.

Parents can find local counselors by calling 211.

For parents without medical insurance, Dr. Jasso says a child’s school can refer them to free mental health counselors in the area.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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