Experts weigh in on helping children cope with tragedy - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

Experts weigh in on helping children cope with tragedy

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

State testing begins for students all over Houston but instead of studying, is your child stressing about the recent tragedies in Boston and West, Texas?

Parenting skills are obviously different all across the board but during this crucial time for students, experts say there are a few tips that can apply to all.

"I just told them there's bad people in this world and how the world isn't perfect," said Amy Gabbard, mother of 4.

"It is what it is, it happens, and I'm not gonna hide it. Its part of living," that's Gabbard's approach at explaining the recent tragedies to her kids.

She admits most might not agree with her ways, but it's what works in her household to keep an "open and honest" relationship with her boys.

It's obvious based on the comments posted on our FOX26 Facebook page parenting skills vary, but experts say the best way to keep your kids focused on what's important right now is managing your own stress.

"Kids do pick up on non-verbal cues and if your energy level is different than usual. If you are pacing around the house or all of a sudden decide that you need to do something with your stress, try to do it in a way that the kids are not aware

of," says Dr. Sue Levin, a family marriage therapist.

Since it's near impossible to shield kids from coverage given social media Dr. Levin adds parents should also limit the amount of time spent watching television and surfing the net.

"Really they should be talking to their kids on a need to know basis, so they shouldn't be spending a lot of time updating their kids or giving them more information then they're ready for."

It could confuse them when they should be thinking clearly about the STAAR test.

Dr. Levin says that's a good enough reason to limit the amount of coverage students watch but otherwise Gabbard says, that's not how she runs her household,

"I'm not trying to get them to grow up any faster than they are, I'm teaching them to be honest and open...I'm not going to hide it from them that's just my parenting style and it doesn't work for everybody and that's ok."

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