Help Children Cope with Emotions about the News of School Shooting

People of all ages have been affected by the news and social media information about a recent shooting at an Iowa school. Children, especially, could experience a wide range of emotions, including fearfulness, shock, anger, grief and anxiety in response to this news, according to David Brown, behavioral health state specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

They may experience trouble sleeping, difficulty with concentrating on school work or home responsibilities, changes in appetite and changes in mood. This is normal and should begin to disappear in four to six weeks, Brown explained.

“Despite the media prominence and the stress these events may produce, mass shootings are statistically rare events, though we may not feel that way. However, we still need to be better prepared to understand children’s reactions and how to help them cope,” Brown said.

The American Psychological Association offers the following advice.

  • Listen to them. Take the time to actively listen to what your child or teen has to say. Many times, all children or teens want is someone to listen to them. In many cases, that is the best help you can offer.
  • Affirm and support their need for help. If a child or teen tells you they are feeling afraid or upset, for example, tell them you are proud of them for sharing their feelings. Let them know you appreciate the courage it took for them to talk with you and for trusting you to help them.
  • Be genuine. Try to avoid speaking from a script. Teens can tell when you’re not being genuine. When you are open, authentic and relaxed, they can be open, authentic and relaxed as well.
  • Take “news breaks.” Your children may want to keep informed by gathering information about the event from the internet, television or newspapers. It is important to limit the amount of time spent watching the news or staying connected online because constant exposure may heighten their anxiety and fears.
  • Check in often. Be sure to check in regularly with your children and teens as you monitor their coping. Provide extra time, attention and patience.

“If adverse reactions continue or at any point interfere with your children’s or teens’ abilities to function at home or at school, or if you are worried, you can find local mental health professionals by going to www.iowamhdsregions.org/,” Brown said.

Consider calling the Iowa Concern Hotline. This resource from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach offers confidential assistance and referral for stress, legal questions and financial concerns. Iowa Concern can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-447-1985.

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network offers parents guidance on helping their children after a shooting. A fact sheet (available in English and Spanish) describes common reactions children may have, how parents can help them and self-care tips after an event.

Season 12 Podcast: Parenting Through Challenges

In the twelfth season of the podcast, our cohosts, Mackenzie Johnson and Courtney Hammond explore research and reality around parenting through challenges. On this page, you’ll find an outline of the season’s content and a brief description of each episode.

S12: Ep. 1Raising Resilience (https://www.buzzsprout.com/748652/13134119)
When life is hard, how can our family cope? What do we prioritize when we have to make tough choices? Listen to our season opener to learn what parents can offer our kids to help turn their adversity into resilience!

S12: Ep. 2 Good Enough Parenting (https://www.buzzsprout.com/748652/13134191)
When facing competing demands and difficult situations, sometimes we have to settle for “good enough parenting”. What does it mean to lower the bar, and how do we still meet the needs of our kids when we can’t give 100%? Tune in to today’s episode to find out.

S12: Ep. 3  Parenting Amid Threats to Safety (https://www.buzzsprout.com/748652/13134296)
Ideally, every family and child would have a safe and consistent home environment. When that’s not the case, parents are often forced to make hard decisions for the wellbeing of their children. Listen to today’s episode where we discuss approaches for protecting kids and a framework that provides hope!

S12: Ep.  Custody, Kinship Care, and Coparenting (https://www.buzzsprout.com/748652/13134307)
When we share the responsibilities of caring for children with other adults, it comes with opportunities and challenges. Listen in for strategies for resolving conflicts and working together to create a nurturing environment for the kids!

S12: Ep. 5 – Repairing & Rebuilding Relationships with Children (https://www.buzzsprout.com/748652/13134316)
Even with our best efforts, we will still sometimes do something that was hurtful to our child. In this season’s finale, our hosts share personal experiences and discuss research on the components of an apology and discuss a specific strategy for repairing parent-child relationships!

Remember you can listen to these episodes (and others) on Apple, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app! You can also follow us on Facebook or Twitter @scienceofparent. Or send us an email with a specific parenting question: parenting@iastate.edu

This institution is an equal opportunity provider. For the full non-discrimination statement or accommodation inquiries, go to www.extension.iastate.edu/diversity/ext.

Mackenzie Johnson

Parent to a little one with her own quirks. Celebrator of the concept of raising kids “from scratch”. Learner and lover of the parent-child relationship. Translator of research with a dose of reality. Certified Family Life Educator.

More Posts

Follow Me:
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Repairing & Rebuilding Relationships with Children

Even with our best efforts, we will still sometimes do something that was hurtful to our child. In this season’s finale, our hosts share personal experiences and discuss research on the components of an apology and discuss a specific strategy for repairing parent-child relationships!

Mackenzie DeJong

Aunt of four unique kiddos. Passionate about figuring how small brains develop, process, and differ. Human Sciences Specialist, Family Life in western Iowa with a B.S. in Family and Consumer Sciences and Design minor.

More Posts

Custody, Kinship Care, and Co-Parenting

When we share the responsibilities of caring for children with other adults, it comes with opportunities and challenges. Listen in for strategies for resolving conflicts and working together to create a nurturing environment for the kids!

Mackenzie DeJong

Aunt of four unique kiddos. Passionate about figuring how small brains develop, process, and differ. Human Sciences Specialist, Family Life in western Iowa with a B.S. in Family and Consumer Sciences and Design minor.

More Posts

Parenting Amid Threats to Safety

Ideally, every family and child would have a safe and consistent home environment. When that’s not the case, parents are often forced to make hard decisions for the wellbeing of their children. Listen to today’s episode where we discuss approaches for protecting kids and a framework that provides hope!

Mackenzie DeJong

Aunt of four unique kiddos. Passionate about figuring how small brains develop, process, and differ. Human Sciences Specialist, Family Life in western Iowa with a B.S. in Family and Consumer Sciences and Design minor.

More Posts

Good Enough Parenting

When facing competing demands and difficult situations, sometimes we have to settle for “good enough parenting”. What does it mean to lower the bar, and how do we still meet the needs of our kids when we can’t give 100%? Tune in to today’s episode to find out.

Mackenzie DeJong

Aunt of four unique kiddos. Passionate about figuring how small brains develop, process, and differ. Human Sciences Specialist, Family Life in western Iowa with a B.S. in Family and Consumer Sciences and Design minor.

More Posts

Raising Resilience

When life is hard, how can our family cope? What do we prioritize when we have to make tough choices? Listen to our season opener to learn what parents can offer our kids to help turn their adversity into resilience!

Mackenzie DeJong

Aunt of four unique kiddos. Passionate about figuring how small brains develop, process, and differ. Human Sciences Specialist, Family Life in western Iowa with a B.S. in Family and Consumer Sciences and Design minor.

More Posts

Making ‘Cents’ of Allowance

Mackenzie and Suzanne make ‘cents’ of some of the most-asked allowance questions in this bonus episode. 

https://fb.watch/mBahZGOj4Q/

Mackenzie DeJong

Aunt of four unique kiddos. Passionate about figuring how small brains develop, process, and differ. Human Sciences Specialist, Family Life in western Iowa with a B.S. in Family and Consumer Sciences and Design minor.

More Posts

Season 11 Podcast: Teaching Kids About Money

In the eleventh season of the podcast, our cohosts, Mackenzie Johnson and Dr. Suzanne Bartholomae, explore research and reality on all things kids and money. On this page, you’ll find an outline of the season’s content and a brief description of each episode.

S11: Ep. 1Financial Parenting
Did you know you are practicing “financial socialization” of your children – whether intentionally or unintentionally? In the season eleven open, Mackenzie and this season’s guest cohost, Dr. Suzanne Bartholomae, introduce the topics of how we teach our kids about money and related concepts.

S11: Ep. 2 What Influences Our Finances?
A lot of different factors influence our financial well-being – from individual traits, to how a decision is presented to you, and even society! Listen in as the cohosts share a model for understanding these influences and even talk about some things that influence their financial practices and money habits.

S11: Ep. 3 – What is the Goal? Financial Well-being
Sometimes we aren’t sure exactly what “financial well-being” even looks like for our children (or ourselves). In this episode, the cohosts look at what the research tells us about this term, and what we can do now with our kids to help them have financial well-being in the future.  

S11: Ep. 4 – Teaching Children about Money
What does my preschooler even understand about money? What about my elementary-age child? Get these answers AND practical strategies to start talking with them about money concepts in today’s episode.

S11: Ep. 5 – Teaching Teens about Money
The teen years can be a prime time for our kids to learn about and practice managing their own money and to experience financial tasks with the help of their parents. Listen in for ideas on how to support your teen in building healthy money habits and other areas you can help them build skills for the future!

S11: Ep. 6 – Teaching Emerging and Young Adults about Money
Sometimes our young adult children rely on their parents to be “an adultier adult” when it comes to finances. This episode explores how this life stage has changed in recent decades and how parents can balance being supportive with encouraging independence during this transitional time!

S11: Ep. 7 – Raising Responsible Consumers
Whether online shopping, utilizing a product, or viewing an advertisement – we are consumers and so are our children. Listen to the season finale to hear about how we can help raise kids to be informed and intentional consumers!


Remember you can listen to these episodes (and others) on Apple, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app! You can also follow us on Facebook or Twitter @scienceofparent. Or send us an email with a specific parenting question: parenting@iastate.edu

This institution is an equal opportunity provider. For the full non-discrimination statement or accommodation inquiries, go to www.extension.iastate.edu/diversity/ext

Mackenzie Johnson

Parent to a little one with her own quirks. Celebrator of the concept of raising kids “from scratch”. Learner and lover of the parent-child relationship. Translator of research with a dose of reality. Certified Family Life Educator.

More Posts

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedIn

Raising Responsible Consumers

Whether online shopping, utilizing a product, or viewing an advertisement – we are consumers and so are our children. Listen to the season finale to hear about how we can help raise kids to be informed and intentional consumers!

Mackenzie DeJong

Aunt of four unique kiddos. Passionate about figuring how small brains develop, process, and differ. Human Sciences Specialist, Family Life in western Iowa with a B.S. in Family and Consumer Sciences and Design minor.

More Posts

Teaching Emerging and Young Adults about Money

Sometimes our young adult children rely on their parents to be “an adultier adult” when it comes to finances. This episode explores how this life stage has changed in recent decades and how parents can balance being supportive with encouraging independence during this transitional time!

Mackenzie DeJong

Aunt of four unique kiddos. Passionate about figuring how small brains develop, process, and differ. Human Sciences Specialist, Family Life in western Iowa with a B.S. in Family and Consumer Sciences and Design minor.

More Posts

Teaching Kids about Money in the Teen Years

The teen years can be a prime time for our kids to learn about and practice managing their own money and to experience financial tasks with the help of their parents. Listen in for ideas on how to support your teen in building healthy money habits and other areas you can help them build skills for the future!

Mackenzie DeJong

Aunt of four unique kiddos. Passionate about figuring how small brains develop, process, and differ. Human Sciences Specialist, Family Life in western Iowa with a B.S. in Family and Consumer Sciences and Design minor.

More Posts

Teaching Kids about Money in Childhood

What does my preschooler even understand about money? What about my elementary-age child? Get these answers AND practical strategies to start talking with them about money concepts in today’s episode.

Mackenzie DeJong

Aunt of four unique kiddos. Passionate about figuring how small brains develop, process, and differ. Human Sciences Specialist, Family Life in western Iowa with a B.S. in Family and Consumer Sciences and Design minor.

More Posts

What is the Goal? Financial Wellbeing

Sometimes we aren’t sure exactly what “financial wellbeing” even looks like for our children (or ourselves). In this episode, the cohosts look at what the research tells us about this term, and what we can do now with our kids to help them have financial wellbeing in the future. 

Mackenzie DeJong

Aunt of four unique kiddos. Passionate about figuring how small brains develop, process, and differ. Human Sciences Specialist, Family Life in western Iowa with a B.S. in Family and Consumer Sciences and Design minor.

More Posts

Season 10 Podcast: Eating and Feeding

In the tenth season of the podcast, our cohosts, Mackenzie Johnson and Dr. Lyndi Buckingham-Schutt, explore research and reality on all things kids and food. On this page, you’ll find an outline of the season’s content and a brief description of each episode.

S10: Ep. 1Kids & Food: Why We Eat What We Eat
When it comes to food, so many factors influence what we (and our kids) eat. Come explore those influences and meet a new face on the podcast!

S10: Ep. 2 What I Bring to the Table: Feeding Styles
Which feeding style do you bring to the table? Listen to hear about the four styles. Plus, learn one of our cohost’s favorite food strategies!

S10: Ep. 3 – Food Parenting Practices
We may have strong beliefs and values around food and our kids, but what we actually do and say has the most impact. In this episode, you’ll hear practical strategies for raising a healthy and independent eater.

S10: Ep. 4 – A Taste of Temperament
By now you’ve heard our hosts tell you that everyone has a natural temperament, come explore how your child’s may be influencing how they eat!

S10: Ep. 5 – Feeding in the First 1000 Days
Your child’s first 1000 days of their life are a great opportunity to establish their eating habits. Listen in to learn why this time is so important and hear strategies for making the most of this important time!

S10: Ep. 6 – Feeding & Eating with Kids
As children transition into school, the family lifestyle can shift, which means eating can change too! In this episode, you’ll learn about specific developmental changes that impact our kids’ eating habits and what you can do to support healthful eating at this age.

S10: Ep. 7 – Feeding & Eating with Teens
Parents of teens are sometimes asking, “how do I get them to eat enough, but not too much?” Well, it turns out that is a layered question! With so much development in this age group, there is a lot to take in. Hear all the insights, strategies, and recommendations in today’s episode.

S10: Ep. 8 – Perservering Through Picky Eating
If you are dealing with picky eating, you know the struggle is real. But you might be asking “Why?” and “What can I do?”. Get research-based answers and reality-centered solutions in today’s episode!

S10: Ep. 9 – Final Thoughts on Food & Feeding
In the last episode of the season, the cohosts revisit some highlights of this season and share more tips and insight for raising our kids to be healthy and independent eaters.

BONUSBaby-Led Weaning or Spoon-Feeding
Baby-Led Weaning is an infant feeding method that’s been getting more attention in recent years, but some parents are wondering if there is science to support it. In this episode, our special guest cohost will help us explore the research and reality on this infant feeding approach!


Remember you can listen to these episodes (and others) on Apple, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app! You can also follow us on Facebook or Twitter @scienceofparent. Or send us an email with a specific parenting question: parenting@iastate.edu

This institution is an equal opportunity provider. For the full non-discrimination statement or accommodation inquiries, go to www.extension.iastate.edu/diversity/ext

Mackenzie Johnson

Parent to a little one with her own quirks. Celebrator of the concept of raising kids “from scratch”. Learner and lover of the parent-child relationship. Translator of research with a dose of reality. Certified Family Life Educator.

More Posts

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedIn