Child experts: talk to your kids about Connecticut crime - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Child experts: talk to your kids about Connecticut crime

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Psychologists caution images from the carnage in Connecticut can overwhelm young children who see news accounts and wonder about their own safety.

"I know kids who do live in fear of these things and expand upon them. It does impede their well-being," clinical psychologist Doug Schwartzsmith said.

Dr. Wendi Hirsch of Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children said youngsters easily become anxious about what's outside their control.

"There's a lot of anxiety. There's a lot of fear, confusion, worry. All those kinds of emotions will come up to the surface," she said.

Schwartzsmith advises parents to communicate to kids that incidents like Friday's school shooting rarely happen.

"For younger children you could says things like, 'We have people here that keep you safe.' That's always true -- parents, police, teachers, administrators," he said.

Both doctors agree that over-exposing a child to stories about the killings can be a big mistake, so parents must be aware of what they are watching when kids are around.

"You want to answer their questions honestly, and turn the TV off and spend time together, so they're not just inundated with those words and images that are so upsetting," Hirsch said.

"There is no good in having a kid look at or even hear about this stuff," said Schwartzsmith. "Maybe I'm old school but what would be the point?"

Psychologists encourage parents to find out what their child knows, ask questions and listen to their answers.

"They could model good coping responses, talking about how you're feeling. being calm, but being open and caring for each other," Hirsch said.

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