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Processing Tragedy with Our Children

Posted on: December 16th, 2012 by John

Sandy Hook

Dear Friends,

Like the rest of the country and much of the world, we at The Family Dinner Project are grieved by the tragic events in Connecticut on Friday.  We join you all in holding the Newtown families in our hearts as we hold our own children and loved ones a little closer today.

How can we help our children make sense of this tragedy when it is so hard to make sense of it ourselves?  How can we talk about it in a way that might allow our children to express their feelings of fear and loss and yet feel loved, secure, and hopeful?

We have taken time to read what respected colleagues and thinkers are saying about how to approach these topics and we are sharing the links with you.  We hope they might be helpful at your dinner table – or afterwards with a comforting warm drink in a quiet and thoughtful spot at home.

  • The first is a video clip from Dr. Susan Swick of Massachusetts General and Newton Wellesley Hospitals who speaks about the value of parents helping children to interpret what happened, advising that we ask what they want to know more about – taking their lead in processing their thoughts and feelings. VIEW
  • The second is a piece written by the Rev. Emily C. Heath who speaks in a more theological way about what might be helpful and not so helpful in your conversations.  This may be useful for those families who are considering this through their faith. VIEW
  • The third is by Eileen Kennedy Moore, PhD. published in Psychology Today.  It offers some helpful guidelines for how you might approach the topic and how to get your children doing something that could bring normalcy and healing. VIEW
  • The last is from Dr. Gene Beresin of Massachusetts General Hospital who provides some things to look for over the next few days and weeks to help understand what might be going on for your children. VIEW

If you have any questions or would like to share some wisdom from your own homes, please feel free to reach out to us at The Family Dinner Project.