How parents can cope with triggering news stories about children

The news that 19 children and two teachers were murdered in an elementary school shooting in Texas on Tuesday, has sent waves of grief and pain around the world.

For parents with children of a similar age to those who tragically lost their lives, the horror of this event may trigger a different level of anxiety and fear.

Here in the UK, the threat of an incident like this happening in one of our schools is much lower than it is in the US, and yet seeing the anguish on the faces of parents who have lost their children is still terrifying for many.

‘I’ve had to stop watching the news today,’ says Hannah, a 33-year-old mum of two from Leicester.

‘I found myself crying while watching the coverage this morning. It is just too much to even think about. My heart goes out to those parents because I can’t even imagine the pain they must be in.

‘It has made me feel anxious about my own two. You can’t help but put yourself in that position, imagine getting a phone call that something terrible has happened. As a parent, it definitely shook me to the core.’

If you’re feeling similarly shaken by recent news events and feel like you need to hold your little ones even tighter today, you are certainly not alone.

‘It’s important to acknowledge the emotions that come up when you are triggered by news events,’ says Samantha Quemby, a certified performance and life coach who specialises in supporting people working through trauma.

‘It can be tempting to distract yourself, or want to numb out from them, but this will only increase in severity.’

Instead, Samantha says you should take a moment to allow yourself to acknowledge and feel the fear, anxiety, and worry.

‘If you need to cry, then do so,’ she says. ‘This will all help to calm the nervous system and move you through the trigger back to a place of neutrality. If you are ruminating or constantly checking the news put your phone away, switch off the TV and focus on something that makes you feel happy and upbeat.’

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