One man's unspeakable actions last Friday, could now make kids fearful of a night out at the movies. Clinical psychologist Dr. Terrance Lichtenwald says if you decide to address your child's anxiety, there are a few steps to follow.
"When you're talking with children, consider where your family is at developmentally. For example, if you're a mom or a father and you have very young kids, that's different then say adolescents." -says Lichtenwald.
While older children may have already heard about the movie theater attack through social media, or even watching the news, chances are, the parent is the first person to tell a younger child. If that's the case, make sure you stick to the facts. But, try not to overload your child with too much information. Also, reassure him or her that there are many people working to keep them safe, like police, firefighters, and medical providers. It's also important to touch on ways a child can feel safe inside a movie theater.
"You want to teach them to look for the exits, and if they see something suspicious, report it." -says Lichtenwald.
Parents can get into a little more detail about the event, if they choose, when their child is around 10 years-old. For families with teenagers, Lichtenwald encourages moms and dads to ask their children questions about what they would do in that kind of situation.
"'Would you say something to somebody if you saw something happening? What would you say? How would you say it? Or would you just sit with your group and not speak up?' That's the important stuff to talk about." -adds Lichtenwald.
Dr. Litchtenwald adds that if parents are shaken up from the movie theater tragedy, it's important they pinpoint their own fears before talking to their children.
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