My friend pointed out to me that NPR’s Talk of the Nation was having a program today and yesterday in regards to discussing the Virginia Tech tragedy with children. Both audio recordings are archived.
- April 19, 2007. Ask Amy: Discussing a Tragedy with Children features Amy Dickinson, syndicated writer for Chicago Tribune, Dr. Adelaide Robb, child and adolescent psychiatrist at Children’s Hospital in Washington, D.C., and Tiffany Anderson, superintendent of Montgomery County Virginia Public Schools.
- April 20, 2007. Helping Children Comprehend the Virginia Tech story with Dr. Joshuah Sparrow, a child psychiatrist and author.
While the shows were directed more toward teachers and parents, rather than librarians explicitly, it might help to listen since a variety of people contributed to the conversations and a range of age groups were discussed.
Some highlights in regards to talking with tweens and teens included:
- create opportunities to talk about how they feel by asking open ended questions and listening
- talk about examples of the positive heroic stories of people not only helping each other but strategies used to save lives
- limit screen time, depending on the child’s age
- focus on the learning experiences such as reminding tweens/teens it’s okay to ask for help from a counselor or teacher (and librarian!) if they notice a friend acting differently or threateningly
- since teens going away to college the next year might have some concerns about what might happen to them when they do go away, reviewing the resources the school has to keep students safe
- taking note of and reporting if necessary, behavior changes that might indicate anxiety is showing up such as from skipping class or starting to fight more often
A recommended resource was the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry with links that range from ‘Talking to Children about Community Violence’ to ‘Facts for Families.’
Posted by Kelly Czarnecki