Talking to Children about Violence

As you may have heard on the news, Winter Park High School has experienced the heartbreaking death of one of their students, Roger Trindade.  The Winter Park High School School Counselors, Winter Park Health Foundation CHILL counselors and the school’s SAFE coordinator have crisis management procedures in place to help the Winter Park High School students deal with their reactions to this tragedy.

As a parent, you may want to talk to your child about death because it impacts each person in different ways. How children react will depend on the relationships they had with the person who died, their age, level of development,  and their prior experience with death. Your child may: appear unaffected, ask questions about the death repeatedly, be angry or aggressive, be withdrawn or moody, be sad or depressed, become fearful or scared, have difficulty sleeping or eating.

Your child may have unresolved feelings that he/she would like to discuss with you. You can help your child by listening carefully, not overreacting, accepting his/her feelings and answering questions according to your beliefs. “I don’t know” is an answer too.

Points to Remember About Students During a Sudden Death Crisis

  •  Sudden death is especially difficult because there has been no time to prepare for the loss. It occurs without warning and reactions may therefore be delayed.
  • If the circumstance of the loss have also been violent, children may seem preoccupied with both the fact that the death occurred as well as how it occurred.
  • Children will experience a wide range of emotions, there is not “right way” to feel, each person has a unique response to crisis.
  • Talking about feelings in open discussions is an appropriate ways of expressing grief.
  • Life will return to normal. However it will take time and vary from individual to individual.

For additional guidance, please refer to the following documents:

Talking to Children about Violence (CHILL)

Grief Is

If your child needs to talk with their CHILL counselor, please click here.