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Even When Talking To Kids About Death, Be Open And Honest

St. Johns Lutheran Church

The tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut is especially difficult to deal with because the majority of the deaths were children, but a local family ministry director says that honesty is still the best policy.

Katie Rode said parents may find themselves talking with their children about the shooting spree. Her advice is to be as open and honest as possible, and not worry about avoiding the word 'death.'

"If you ever try and keep something from a child, more likely than not they'll figure it out, and in general that makes them less trusting of you," she said. "As a parent, we are their ultimate trust, we are the ones that take care of them and we want them to feel that trust and that love from us. If we as parents can help protect that, it's through honesty and it's through teaching them that yes, everything will be OK, but sometimes there are bad people that do bad things."

Rode said that children are resilient, but they need to know they're loved and protected.

One topic of conversation can be security measures their school takes, and what to do in an emergency. Above all, Rode says, let them know it’s OK to feel sad. Tough times can help strengthen family bonds.

Ryan Loyd was Texas Public Radio's city beat and political reporter. He left the organization in December, 2014.