How to talk to kids about mass shootings and other violence

​It’s nearly impossible to shield kids from news like the Nashville school shooting. Here’s how to approach such topics in an age-appropriate way—and help them feel safe.

It's a tragedy no parent wants to talk to their children about. And yet, after the news that a 28-year-old woman murdered three children and three adults at Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee, many parents are wondering how—and even if—they should bring up the topic with their kids.

Troubling current events can be upsetting and confusing to children. Although adults have the cognitive skills to process sudden news-making events like mass shootings, violent protests, plane crashes, and natural disasters, a child’s brain usually isn’t developed enough to quite make sense of something that doesn’t seem right.

Psychologist David Rusbasan says that as children develop, they make sense of the world first through sight, then language, then through more complex connections between what

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