4 Ways You Can Help Your Child Cope With Tragedy

Well, it happened again.  

Another school shooting. Another deadly day in an otherwise quiet town.

Ironically, I had this #TEACHableMoments episode shot and scheduled for next week. I didn't realize how timely it would become.

The insta-response from the media seems to be to fill up their interview slots with as many political gun debates as they can squeeze in. 

Inviting "experts" to nullify each other's facts, as the pundits declare dead heroes and scrutinize the suspects.

Too often, those suspects are children. Every few months, we have another child rampage or a suicide - or both. Is the rate of violence increasing?   

Depends on whom you ask. It appears that violence in general, while it seems unrelenting, has been decreasing.

If you've been affected by violence or trauma, today's episode is going to show you 4 ways you can help your child cope with tragedy.

I'm tired of the gun debates, yes.  But, I'm more tired of hearing...

"Authorities have yet to figure out what motivated a12-year-old boy to open fire... may have been bullied."


They have NO idea what, for the most part, turns a child into a cold-blooded killer?

Okay, maybe on an individual level, we do not know exactly what happened in this particular case.  

I'm sure we'll delve into the life of this youngster and pore over every detail of his short life only to find blame... somewhere in the end.  Bullies, guns, video games, bad parenting - whatever our cause du jour is this month - will be held responsible.

Looking at the landscape, haven't we been down this road enough to see the pattern

To see that:

  • kids are overwhelmed, stressed out, feeling alone and unloved and that kind of interruption to their development coupled with an immature brain is a recipe for disaster.

  • parents are overwhelmed, stressed out, feeling alone and unloved and that's a recipe for disaster.

  • kids don't make bad choices just because they "can" - they always have a motive that is driven by some basic need going unmet, some interruption in their ability to regulate or a stuck emotion.

  • zero tolerance bully prevention programs are an inadequate response such an emotionally driven and systemic problem.

  • when we judge and punish the bullies, they only become hardened in their hearts and not more reflective or in-control of their behavior.

  • when we say we "won't tolerate..." we close off our ability to stay present and available for the kids who need it most.

  • when we crucify the bullies and shield the victims, we build walls instead of bridges.

  • when we solve conflict by telling kids how they SHOULD BE instead of asking them HOW THEY ARE - we set them up to repeat their poor strategies until they've been heard and helped.

  • kids CANNOT reflect on their behavior when you judge, moralize, assume, shame, or use fear, threats or guilt.

  • dissecting their lives through the lens of a ferocious public looking for someone to blame isn't helpful.
  • they're learning it from us.
Raising kindness and raising kids who can feel their feelings and access their empathy circuits is going to take a shift in how we relate to them.

To speak with compassion takes building a bridge into the heart of another. 

I hope that we keep our eyes focused on the change that these events are calling us to make.

From my vantage point, as a previously stressed-out child who felt unloved, judged, and was bullied - I can tell you that gun access is a minor variable that won't change a damn thing about the undeniable reality that the root cause is something much deeper.

These events are a mirror for us to create change from the inside-out.

There is a lack of unconditional love in our homes, in our schools, and in our hearts. 

Unconditional love does not mean we ignore or accept behavior. 

It means that we lead our kids with kindness and confidence, and throw away the temporary band-aids barely holding us together and aim for intensive repair and reconstruction of how we treat each other. 

I hope that we continue to OPEN OUR EYES and decode the messages that our kids are sending through their behavior.

This video is by NO means an exhaustive list - so what tips do you have for helping kids cope with tragedy?

Share your thoughts in the comments and let me know!

I hope that tragedy never strikes - but that is something I know I can't control. What I CAN control is how I choose to speak my truth.  

I'm aiming for kindness.  Will you please join me? Thank you so much for reading and please remember, it's about being conscious - not perfect!

Talk soon,

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About Lori

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