Supporting children and adolescents in the aftermath of the shooting

20 March 2019

We are deeply saddened by the events that occurred in Christchurch on Friday and our thoughts are with our Muslim community and with all of Christchurch as people deal with this terrible event. A free resource to help children and adolescents cope has been written by Associate Professor Kathleen Liberty, using strategies supported by recent research.

  • Shooting Vigil

How to Support Child and Adolescent Learning and Coping after the shooting - Suggestions for Parents and Teachers

Download now How to Support Child and Adolescent Learning and Coping after the shooting, PDF, 165KB

Kathleen Liberty, Ph.D, University of Canterbury

With support from:
Sue Bagshaw, Alison Hill, Anne Horton, Brie Liberty, Kirsty Robinson & Lianne Woodward.

This booklet was developed for parents and teachers wanting to help children's learning in response to the sad events of Friday 15 March in Christchurch. I want to say that children and adolescents were with their parents and whanau all weekend and the advice provided to them via the media was welcomed by the parents.

A major motivation for this document was to offer advice based on current research evidence to teachers and parents about children’s and adolescents’ learning as children started back to school on 18 March. Therefore, with the help and advice of my support team, I have written this booklet from a psycho-social-educational perspective, based on the published research listed at the end of this document. Please feel free to share.

Kia Kaha, New Zealand.

Kathleen Liberty, Ph.D
University of Canterbury

Table of Contents
How to Talk with Children and Adolescents About The Shooting pg 4
Research says that you may hear children/adolescents voice these thoughts or concerns pg 4
Important tips for discussing media or events so that learning can occur pg 4
Parents and teachers can help children re-establish a sense of safety and predictability pg 6
Conversations That Might Unintentionally Make Things Worse pg 6
Do not focus on the shooter or “bad man” pg 6
What to say if the child brings up the “bad man” or “shooter” pg 7
Do not say “everything will be ok” or focus on “resilience”. Do not offer advice on how to recover pg 7
Do not avoid conversations about the event pg 7
Do not pretend that such events do not affect parents and teachers pg 7
Do not prevent children from talking about what they have heard or seen from family, peers, media, etc. pg 8
Do not start out explaining or talking or lecturing pg 8
Some Ways the Shooting and the Earthquakes are Different pg 8
References pg 8

Download now How to Support Child and Adolescent Learning and Coping after the shooting, PDF, 165KB

Children and adolescents should be referred for professional services according to mental health guidelines.These suggestions are not intended to supplant individual or group therapy or counselling for bereaved children, adolescents and families. These suggestions are not intended to replace advice from GPs, Mental Health Therapists, Counsellors, or other specialists.

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