As investigators try to uncover a motive for the violent attack at the Ariana Grande concert, there’s no disputing this act of terrorism targeted a crowd of young people.
So the violence hits closer to home for children and teens who aren’t shielded from news the way other generations were before social media. 7News got expert advice on how parents can help children process these hateful acts and still see humanity in the aftermath.
Social media buzzing today with the grief and horror of 22 dead at a concert that attracted mainly young fans of a young superstar.
“It’s on every single site I know of, even on Instagram people are posting about it,” said Jordan Carson, a college freshman in Greenville.
She and her friend Julie Hall, both fans of the singer, say the tragic news is inescapable.
“It kind of makes me feel like something like this could happen to me, so I guess it makes it more scary,” said Hall.
Dr. Alex Garvey, the Vice President of Mission at Bon Secours Saint Francis encourages parents to help children develop a framework to process tragedy in a way that minimizes fear.
“You never miss an opportunity when you can help your child understand a situation in a better way than fear. You know, cause don’t forget, fear is not a concept that we can build on. Empathy is a concept we can understand loss and tragedy through that lens,” Garvey said.
To do that, Garvey recommends parents choose words wisely by avoiding labels that blame. He suggests instead of saying a “bad person” did this, explain a person who was mislead committed a bad act.
Garvey says if your child is having trouble coping, don’t underestimate the counselors at school. And if there’s also loss of sleep, be sure to contact the pediatrician.
Sites like the American Psychological Association also have resources that can help parents guide their children as they process bad news.
Rabbi Matthew Marko says creating the space to listen and guide is essential in these times.
“We’re going to listen to them, we’re going to hear what their concerns are and what their anxieties and then between me and teachers hopefully we’ll come up with some words that will give them some calm some comfort and some hope,” Marko said.