Violence – either the experiencing or the witnessing of it – can cause trauma in young people. Trauma is the after-injury of a stressful situation. It can be physical, mental or emotional, and can affect both the body and the mind. It can affect a child’s ability to learn, socialize and feel secure.
Parents and family members play key roles in helping children cope with trauma. It is critical to the healing process that parents help protect children from further trauma, and help them get medical care and counseling. The booklet, Helping Children Cope with Violence, from the National Institute of Mental Health provides some helpful information for parents and caregivers of children and adolescents.
The Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress provides suggestions for parents to use in helping a child feel safe after a tragic event, such as a mass shooting.