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How to talk to your kids about the Texas school shooting

With the news of the violence in Texas filling our newsfeeds, a Valley therapist offers tips on how to talk to kids about the school shooting.

PHOENIX — With the news of another school shooting in Texas, the headlines, the videos, and the impact spread far beyond just Texas and the students there. 

The news can affect us all, including students here in Arizona. 

The toll of violence 

The violence of a gunman hurting and killing students and teachers is filling our news feeds. 

"This is devastating, this is traumatic, and that trauma, it stays with people," said Victoria Secrist, a marriage and family therapist in the Valley.

Secrist said what happened in Texas takes a toll, and what makes its way onto social media as a result, takes a toll on kids too. 

"When you're watching these horrific videos, it's actually making it feel like it's happening right there for you. We're almost being transported to this horrific event," Secrist said. 

Secrist said she's now had kids say drills preparing for an active shooter are affecting them too. 

"You're literally preparing for the worst-case scenario to occur," Secrist said.
"What I have heard from kids these days is that it's hitting them and sitting with them in an entirely different way.

EN ESPAÑOL: Cómo hablar con sus hijos sobre el reciente tiroteo escolar

Starting the conversation

Secrist said preparing a plan is always good, but those emotions and the feelings that come up from the latest shooting should be expressed. 

"As we're noticing, the school shootings are not stopping. And so we need to have these conversations, we need to have some sort of preparedness or even being able to understand this is difficult to talk about," Secrist said. 

As for where parents can start with their kids, Secrist recommends starting with an open conversation. 

"How did you hear about this? How was this information brought about to you? What are your thoughts? How are you feeling about it, you know, just being able to gently guide into that conversation," Secrist said. 

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Secrist said kids will often help take the next step whether showing through their facial expressions or their words about how they're feeling, and whether they're ready to talk or not. 

"Kids need to know that they're heard, that they're understood that they can freely express their fears," Secrist said. 

Secrist said parents can help validate those emotions and fears by acknowledging them. 

RELATED: Official: 18 children killed in Texas elementary school shooting

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