Greensboro, NC -- If your kids have seen the news or been online much in the last couple days, they've likely heard about the tragedy in Aurora, Colo. A situation this terrible could lead to some tough questions parents will have to answer.
"As a parent, you hope that hopefully you're never going to have to [answer those sorts of questions]," said Kathy Capps, a mother of two. "But, the realistic thing is that tragedies are happening all around the country and around the world every day. You have to be prepared for that conversation when it comes."
Parents WFMY News 2 spoke with at Country Park Saturday morning said their kids haven't really talked about what happened in Colorado much. But if they do bring it up, experts say it's crucial to listen and reassure.
"[Children] don't have full-grown brains yet," Nannette Funderburk, a licensed professional counselor, said. "And so they are not making the same connections that we are as adults. So things can get blown way out of proportion and the reality of things can start looking more like the fun house mirrors versus what's really going on here. So we want to hear what they have to say and clear up misconceptions."
While much of the conversation about coping is rightly focused on children, adults have to take stock, too. Kids are looking to adults for their cues on how to react, so it's important to make sure you have someone to talk to if you're feeling uneasy.
"Debriefing is so important, whether it's one-on-one with somebody in a professional setting or a trusted friend," Amanda Michelich, a licensed professional counselor, said. "You have to find a way to get it out. Otherwise, the stuff festers and can create longer-lasting problems."
If you're looking for help handling conversations with your kids, you can reach Funderburk at the Social and Emotional Learning Group at (336) 285-7173 or online here. If you're an adult and you'd like to know more about dealing with tragedies, you can reach Michelich at Cornerstone Psychological Services at (336) 540-9400 or online here.
WFMY News 2