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Talking to teenagers when tragedy strikes

Discussion forum for parents in Australia

Talking to teenagers when tragedy strikes

Prolific scribe

Talking to teenagers when tragedy strikes

You may have heard about the devastating news out of Florida about the school shooting. I know a lot of us here at ReachOut have been very upset to hear about this tragedy, as have the young people that use our service.


I wanted jump on and let you all know it's normal to be upset by this, but also ask: how do you support/talk to you teens when bad world news like this happens? What do you talk about? What do you say?


Some things we thought about were:

- To reassure them that they are safe and that gun laws are very different in Australia
- Tell them that violence isn't the norm and most people think it's not okay
- To maybe take a break together with your teen and go do something nice together
What about you?

Re: Talking to teenagers when tragedy strikes

Thank you so much for posting this @Sophi-RO - I too was saddened by what has happened in Florida and have been trying to steel myself for whatever questions my son has when he gets back from school.  


My natural instincts are to try and step in and shield my son from upsetting stuff (going into full parent protector mode). Especially as my son does have a tendency to focus on worst-case-scenarios when it comes to confronting world events.


At the same time I know that these urges are not possible as a long-term solution and so I do have to step back and think about this. 


That's why I really love the first couple of suggestions that you posted above around how to have this conversation.  To let him know with those kinds of words that he is safe here might be amazingly comforting.



Super star contributor

Re: Talking to teenagers when tragedy strikes

It's such a horrible thing to happen and so sad. My daughter and I saw it come up on the news tonight and she was in her room in a flash. She doesn't cope well with these types of things. I let her have her space and when she came back out she was angry about the gun laws in the US and the attitude of politicians who won't make changes.  


Having the gun laws we do here makes her feel safe in our country which is good. Luckily tonight was Gogglebox on TV which we love, so we enjoyed that. 


I think communication is the key. Let them talk and listen to all they have to say, and acknowledge how normal those feelings are at a time like this.