LOUISVILLE, Ky. — After Kentuckians watched the chaos unfold in the nation’s capitol on Wednesday, parents have said they're struggling with how to talk to their children about the deadly incident.
Johnathan Bauman is a clinical psychologist at the Kentucky Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders, and he said the first thing to do is ask questions.
"Just be curious about what your child wants to know from you," Bauman said.
Many parents are trying to find ways to help their children understand the violence that occurred on Capitol Hill, killing at least four people in the process.
“Help them understand when we’re upset, when people are angry about something, sometimes they make choices that hurt other people and that’s an unfortunate reality of our world and that’s okay to talk to children about that,” Bauman explained.
Experts say it’s okay to have honest conversations with your child. Since they might have seen the events unfold on TV or online, they could have difficult emotions to process.
“We really just want to say, 'What did you hear about this? How do you feel about this?' and then from there we can kind of know what kind of what information they need from you," Bauman said
When taking to children about what they see on the news, Bauman encourages to limit their exposure to images and let them guide the conversation.
“We might want to limit news exposure to some things for children but some stories are just too big to avoid and if they don’t hear it from you, they’re going to hear about it at school,” he said.
Parents should also reassure their child that they are safe as they continue to comprehend what happened.
“Helping them understand it’s okay to be concerned, but you know you’re going to be okay," Bauman said.
Mental health advocates also recommend checking on your child for anything that seems out of the ordinary.
“If you notice changes in behavior patterns, changes in sleep, changes in eating patterns, a lot of somatic complaints for kids, sometimes they have upset stomachs or headaches.”
Experts say if you are concerned, seek a mental health professional or talk to your child’s pediatrician.