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Talking with children about the death of a peer

Posted at 5:18 PM, Mar 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-11 18:18:23-05

LAFAYETTE — The Scott Police Department has identified the two people who died in a shooting Tuesday on Mills Street. Read more about that shooting here.

Grief counselors are at the Lafayette school where the 14-year-old was a student to talk with children about the loss.

One therapist tells KATC it is important to continue the conversation at home.

"I think the most important thing is to let them know there is no right or wrong way to go through grief. What might make me feel better, may make you feel worse, and that it's all okay," Psychotherapist Rachel Foreman said.

Foreman tells KATC the best way to talk with your child about the death of a peer is to start by saying, "I heard this happened."

"Are people at your school talking about it? Is it someone you knew? See what their experience of it has been. Maybe it is someone they didn't know, or someone they talked to online, and feel them out, how has it affected you, or has it?" Foreman said.

According to Foreman, you should ask your child these questions when discussing the tragedy:

-What do we know?
-What do you still want to know about the situation?
-How do you feel?

She adds boys are more likely to stay busy, avoiding the emotions, while girls will be more likely to want to talk.

"You may not feel anything right now. When you're laying in bed tonight, it may start bothering you, or it might be next week. Whenever it does, it is okay to bring it up and to talk about it," Foreman said.

The Licensed Clinical Social Worker says it is important parents tell their kids it is okay to grieve for a stranger.

"It is possible to grieve for somebody you didn't know, or to grieve for your community or with someone else. if you know that their family is hurting, it is okay to hurt for them," Foreman explained.

If you know a child in need of additional support, Foreman recommends contacting the Healing House.