Anonymous

How can I reassure my anxious child that she is safe?

My very sensitive 7 year old saw some of the recent news coverage of the mass shootings while watching TV with my husband. She ran out of the room crying and later told me about it when I got back from swimming with her little sister. The next day at summer camp, some kids were playing cops and bad guys and that evening she ended up sobbing uncontrollably and unable to sleep. She told me she is scared of bad guys and guns and was really scared/worried that what happens if some bad guy tries to shoot her at a place where she goes (camp/school/playground) or invades our home. I tried my best to console her and assure her that we are safe, and we live in a safe home, neighborhood and community. She has always been anxious from day one, very gifted in academics and arts, but gets overly worried in new situations (first day of school, starting gymnastics, when younger cried at every bday party arrival). She functions fine a majority of the time, but seeing the fear in her eyes and her helplessness of feeling “unsafe,” over recent violence against everyday people breaks my heart. Any ideas on how I can help her cope are appreciated.

  • Anonymous
    Aug 07

    Lots of hugs, snuggles, constant reassurances, and no more adult content tv until she’s old enough to process horrible tragedies and realize they are awful events that will hopefully never happen to her. I’m sorry this happened!!!

  • Carissa
    Aug 07

    I don’t have any advice but this just breaks my heart! 💔 sending love to you and your family, children should not have to go through this 😢

  • Andrea
    Aug 08

    This is a great opportunity to get her involved in making a difference. Talk with her about policies that might help prevent gun violence and keep the country safer, then talk about how to make that happen. Finally, DO IT! Call your local and regional politicians and talk to her about running for an office herself once she's older. She has power! Just show her how ❤️

  • Crystal
    Aug 08

    What you control- Tell her you are going to be calling your Senators and telling them to make Red Flag laws and Comprehensive Background Checks for Gun Reform. Take her to vote and explain you're voting for a safer country with less gun violence. What she can control- it's okay for her to know there's tricky adults and bad people in the world, but it's important she looks for the good because the world is mostly good. So if there's a car accident you drive by, say look at all the helpers. If scary news is on, say this is why people are voting to change this. Use the opportunity to point out the good. In the store with my 3 small kids the other day I asked, what would you do if a bad guy came in and shot a gun? We talked about running away and out the doors. Any door. We talked about in emergencies to run fast and the police will help us even if we separated. It is sad, but that also gave my daughter a sense of preparedness.

  • Rhiannon
    Aug 08

    I'm so sorry to hear this! I just came across this post about books that might help children process difficult and scary information after the recent shootings. I hope your daughter is able to feel more comfortable soon. https://happilyeverelephants.com/home/childrens-books-about-trauma-grief-and-fear

  • Anonymous
    Aug 10

    This broke my heart

  • Momof2
    Aug 12

    I’m so sad this is the world we are raising our kids in! I think it’s most important to validate her feelings of fear around it. It is super scary as an adult (and even more so as a child I’m sure) to think about somebody coming into school (or any place really) and shooting people. I might avoid telling her things like you live in a safe neighborhood. I’m sure most of the people who sent their kids to the schools thought it was safe as well and if, God for bid something ever did happen she might lose trust in your reassuring words. I agree with the above posts of telling your daughter specific things you are doing to take action either politically or to try and keep her safer. My friend also said she has “ worry dolls” for her daughter (she said she bought them on Amazon). At night before her daughter goes to bed she tells the dolls thing she’s worried about and then her daughter is putting her worry on somebody else and not taking it on herself. Hope one of those suggestions is helpful!

  • Rhiannon
    Aug 21

    Hi! I came across another book post and thought of y'all. It's about anxiety in general. As a worrier from a young age, I understand how crippling anxiety can be. As an adult, therapy and mindfulness have helped me. At her age, I hope something like this book about worrying could provide some of that helpful framework. https://happilyeverelephants.com/home/popular-kids-books/I'm-worried It also seems like it's never too early to teach breathing and mindfulness practices to control the physical and mental symptoms of anxiety. This blog had another good book about yoga and mindfulness books for kids, too. Sending good thoughts your way!