Parents Deal With Distressed Children
Posted March 24, 1998 6:00 a.m. EST
RALEIGH — The Arkansas tragedy hit home for several Raleigh families today, as parents tried to explain the shootings to their children.
For Marilyn Lovett, the Arkansas incident represents the increasingly violent world her grandsons are growing up in. 20-month old Hayden is too young to know what happened, but 7-year-old Jared is at the age where he is beginning to ask questions.
"It's a little more difficult for parents to answer these questions. They're more difficult questions than we were forced to answer with our children."
Family psychologists suggest that parents evaluate their children's emotions before discussing the shootings.
Dr. Ochetti said, "Fear is a common emotion and even if it didn't happen close to you, this was in Arkansas another state, but fear could still be a factor."
Kids have a right to be afraid, Dr. Ochetti said, violence is becoming such a fact of life.
Parents, as well as teachers and school administrators, need to reassure children that they are taking steps to make their schools safe, Dr Ochetti said. Adults should also teach children to be aware of warning signs in other kids.
"If you hear your classmates or anybody else that you know in school say that they're going to hurt somebody or they're going to kill somebody, please tell an adult," Dr. Ochetti said.
Officials suspect that one of the Arkansas boys bragged about wanting to kill girls who had broken up with him. Dr. Ochetti said that it is important to take threats like this seriously. If somebody had, this tragedy may have been prevented.
Franklin County school teachers and students also talked about the Arkansas shooting.
Arkansas students and teachers ignored the boasting and threats made by the boys arrested yesterday. Franklinton High School counselors believe that their students would handle a similar situation differently.
Guidance Counselor Charlotte Purnell said, "Here, we take all threats seriously. If we even hear someone even utter threatening words, we act on it then and there."