Counselor discusses impact of Colorado shooting - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Counselor discusses impact of Colorado shooting

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MADISON (WKOW) -- The aftermath of the mass shooting at a Colorado movie theater is being felt nationwide.

It's always tough to talk about, but we spoke with a counselor who says it is important to do, especially with older kids who might be hearing about the shooting in the news and not quite understand.

"I think it just tears at our sense of safety," says John Boyne, a counselor at Madison College.

"Talk about it with your loved ones, ministers or rabbis to make sense of it because it is destabilizing," Boyne says. "It's something that makes me worried about society and safety, so I have to take responsibility for addressing that as an adult."

Even with older children exposed to the media, he says it's important to talk and restore their sense of safety.

"Ask them how they're feeling, encourage them to talk and raise questions. Pay attention. Some kids might have a more anxious reaction. Parents know their kids, so they can anticipate if this is going to troublesome to their child."

Is there a right age to have this discussion?

"I don't know if there's a cutoff. I would say let the child be the guide and watch their reaction to it," Boyne says.

He suggests talking about mental illness, or someone not being well, in response to questions about why someone would harm others.

"The main thing is to highlight, life around here is pretty safe. These things are very rare."

And while you don't want to ignore any concerns children might have, Boyne says you also don't want to make it worse by overdoing it.

He suggests limiting their exposure to coverage of the shooting if possible.

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