How to Talk to Your Children About School Shootings

The Nashville community, along with every other community that has experienced gun violence in schools, is mourning the loss of six precious souls — three students and three staff members — of The Covenant School, a private Christian school in the Green Hills community.

Like you, we hugged our children a little bit tighter after learning about the shooting, which was just down the street from our 21st Century Christian offices and bookstore.

We pray for the families affected and the lives lost, but we want to address parents and caregivers who may not know how to talk to their children about what happened at The Covenant School or any of the other schools where, unfortunately, similar events have occurred.

It isn’t a conversation that any parent wants to have, but it’s become essential in this fallen world. Here a few things to keep in mind as you talk with your children about school shootings:

-Stay calm. You may feel angry and want to scream and cry, but that won’t help your child.
-Let your child lead the conversation. You are there to support your child, so give them the opportunity to ask questions and end the discussion when they’re ready.
-Provide space for them to express their feelings.
-Provide honest, age-appropriate answers to their questions.
-Ask them what they think would help them feel safe at school.
-If you don’t feel like you have answers, that’s okay.
-Most importantly, pray for them and with them.

As parents and caregivers, we want to be able to tell our children that everything will be all right. We want to wrap them in our arms and assure them that all is well. We long to give them the answers to their questions, but in many cases, we can’t. When it comes to school shootings, we don’t have all the answers, but we trust the One who does.

When you’re ready, have those hard, but essential, conversations. We’re having them, too. And we’ll be praying for you.