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Children's advocacy center explains mental health therapy for kids after deadly Elkmont shooting

You may be wondering how to talk about tragic situations like the Elkmont murders. WAAY 31 got advice on how to have that tough conversation.

Posted: Sep 3, 2019 6:42 PM

You may be wondering how to talk about tragic situations like the Elkmont murders. WAAY 31 got advice on how to have that tough conversation.

To find out, we sat down with Chris Newlin, the executive director of the National Children's Advocacy center in Huntsville. He says first, parents need to pay attention to what kind of information kids are hearing.

"There's a kid at school today who is looking at an empty desk in front of them, another kid looking at an empty desk next to him. There's somebody whose best friend is no longer here. All those things, it's tragic," said Newlin.

Parents said it's hard to tackle how to explain a tragedy like the shooting in Elkmont to kids.

"Intellectually, they may be able to comprehend, but emotionally, I don't think they're ready to be exposed to a lot of the things they're exposed to at an early age," said Marilyn Meadows.

Newlin says parents should have a plan in place.

"It's important parents are monitoring how much they're communicating with each other about this issue in front of their kids, because kids are great at overhearing and listening to conversations. They're experts at that," said Newlin.

Newlin says with younger kids, let them ask the questions and explain it in a way they can understand.

"I think to say, 'Something happen, unfortunately people do some bad things sometimes. Someone did something bad and kids were hurt. If you have any questions, I'll answer your questions,'" said Newlin.

He also said remind your children you're here for them. He says for the most part, how you explain the situation will depend on your individual child and their maturity.

The National Children's Advocacy Center provides mental health therapy to kids who experience trauma.

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