How To Talk To Kids About The Movie Massacre

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The shooting massacre in Colorado has left some feeling anxious and vulnerable.

“How could somebody do something like that?” asked Tod Hjulberg of Zimmerman, Minn.

For Hjulberg, a Gulf War veteran, the news of the tragedy hit deep.

“I’ve seen people and seen shooting and been shot at and it affects me a lot,” he said.

On Friday night Hjulberg sat down and talked to his 12-year-old son, Jacob, about it.

“We don’t want to shield him from what’s going on,” Hjulberg said. “So we give it to him up front.”

The news and shocking personal accounts can be traumatic for young people.

“Who thinks this could happen to you at the movies? Nobody,” said Kathleen Mathews, a therapist at Washburn Center for Children.

Mathews has been a therapist for nearly 20 years. She said the most anxious young people, in her experience, are those ages 10 to 13.

Mathews said if you talk to your kids about what happened, make sure they’re mature enough to handle it. This is not something young kids should be exposed to.

She said parents may get questions like: Am I safe? Is this going to happen to me?

Her advice is: listen, be confident and reassure children.

“I would say: this is something that doesn’t happen very often, and it’s my job to keep you safe. I will do everything I can to keep you safe,” she said.

Hjulberg says he talked his son how he felt about going to the movies. He also talked to him about the video games he loves to play, especially the ones with shooting and villains.

“It’s how you approach and educate your children,” he said. “This is fantasy, this is fiction, and this is reality; and you need to know the difference.”

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