Today, we want to continue our conversation about helping your kids manage their concerns the mass shooting in Las Vegas.
We know that parents develop strong opinions when it comes to their kids’ safety, particularly after a tragedy of this magnitude. Some parents might want to hold on to their kids tighter.
Protecting your kids is instinctive. Listening isn’t. As parents you tend to talk to your kids. Telling them what you think and what they should do. This is the wrong approach when you want to start a conversation. You want to ask your kids about what they think and what they feel. Asking leads to understanding. How can you help them if you don’t understand them? You can give solutions to something that isn’t a problem for them.
Let me give you an example. You’re worried about their safety. You’re worried about letting them go to concerts, fairs, festivals. You might make an assumption that they’re scared to go to a outdoor venue. Or, you decide that by not letting them go that you’re protecting them. When in fact, they’re not scared to go to concerts or public places. They’re concerned about what to do in those situation, like hiding places.
To understand your teens, ask questions. Examples of questions: What do you think about the shooting in Las Vegas? What concerns you most? How does it make you feel about concerts? How does it make you feel about safety? Does this change the way you think of people? The point is to get a global perspective and their answers guide you to the next question.
Here’s an example of a conversation with my 16 year old daughter. After we talked about the shooting in Las Vegas, I said, “What are your thoughts about what happened?” She said, “I'm shocked. I don’t understand what would make someone shoot and kill so many people.” Her response was disbelief. Imagine if I didn’t ask, and just said, “That’s it, we're not going to anymore concerts." She'd feel misunderstood and confused by my response.
Blanca Cobb is a WFMY News 2 Contributing Editor, body language expert and keynote speaker/corporate trainer who covers nonverbal communication, psychology and behavior. Follow her @blancacobb. The opinions expressed in this article are exclusively hers.