Coping with Tragedy

Coping with Tragedy





Resources for Children and Parents in the Wake of the Connecticut School Shooting

Like so many parents across the country, and the world, I wept today for the children and teachers lost in the unfathomable shooting tragedy in that Connecticut elementary school. My heart aches for the parents, the siblings, family members, and the entire community of those directly affected. At Better Parenting the topics usually include anything from potty training to teenage dating, but today there was a sorrow and a reminder that these topics seem insignificant at times like this.

As I sat and cried, prayed, and talked with my own children, we had conversations that shouldn’t have to be held in a cozy country home just before Christmas. But we did – and I reached out for my own resources to help my children and my family learn to deal with the emotions and the pain that encompasses such a day.

Resources for Children

It seems ironically and sadly appropriate that many of the wonderful resources available can be found in the children’s section of your local library or book store. These books might help ease some of the fear and worry that your own children might be having about returning to their schools on Monday morning.

  • Triumphing Over Tragedy: Overcoming Adversity, by Brittany Elizabeth Tew – A colorful book for young children, the author draws upon her own experiences with tragedy to bring about comfort to children and encourage them to “dance in the rain” despite all of the pain.
  • A Terrible Thing Happened, by Margaret M. Holmes – Young children can benefit from this story that demonstrates the anxiety and even anger that people can experience at times like this.
  • Students in Danger – Survivors of School ViolenceThis resource is recommended for older children who might be affected by the tragedy of school violence, letting them know that they are not alone in their worries.
  • Rachel and the Lion, by Stephanie Lainez – This book is about a young girl in Africa whose community is struck by the tragedy of malaria, and how she grows and uses her inner strength to overcome the heartache and pain.

Resources for Parents and Caregivers

  • School Shootings – How to Empower Kids in the Face of Armed School Violence, by Irene Van der Zande, Kidpower Founder and Executive Director – A tool for parents and caregivers, giving advice for helping children feel secure and empowered in their own schools.
  • Children and Grief – Helping Your Child Understand Death, by Joey O’Connor – This book takes parents through the steps of helping children cope with death and loss.
  • Parenting in the Midst of TragedyThis guide written by Glenn Lutjens, M.A. and available through Focus on the Family, is a wonderful resource for parents struggling with helping their children cope with the overwhelming emotions tragedies cause. It gives direct, focused, and practical steps that we can take to help guide our children through what we are having a hard time comprehending.

There don’t seem to be enough resources in the world to help ease the pain that a tragedy such as the school shooting in Connecticut today has caused. These are only tools to help us get one step closer to a peace we want our children to feel – and a safety we want them to have – always. As we gather as a nation in pain, we are also gathering as parents who mourn with the parents who lost their children today. We are hugging our own kids a little tighter, smiling at them a little longer, and praying a little harder.

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