CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Listen more, talk less, when addressing school shootings with your kids

Mar 28, 2023, 2:00 PM

Multiple consequences can arise from school shootings, a Utah therapist stresses that listening and...

NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 27: A parent walks with their kids from Woodmont Baptist Church where children were reunited with their families after a mass shooting at The Covenant School on March 27, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee. According to initial reports, three students and three adults were killed by the shooter, a 28-year-old woman. The shooter was killed by police responding to the scene. (Seth Herald /Getty Images)

(Seth Herald /Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — The strategy of trying to keep bad news from kids, especially when the news is a school shooting, doesn’t work says a Utah family therapist.

There are just too many sources online, in-app, and through friends to keep children sheltered from such news.

And while trying to shield stories from kids, such as the Nashville school shooting this week, a Utah family therapist said talking about the issue is the better way.

“I think one of the most important things to do (is to) talk about this a lot,” family therapist Jenn Oxborrow told KSL NewsRadio.

And she had this important distinction.

“Parents (should) listen more and talk less, and validate how their kids are feeling.”

That validation part is important, Oxborrow said, and she knows it’s important because it comes straight from the mouths of younger generations. 

She stresses that frequently young people tell her, as a therapist, they trust those who listen to them and want to understand their feelings. 

Oxborrow recommends that parents listen and let their children know their concerns are being heard. 

“And then try to build protective factors around them that provide reassurance and a safe place to talk about those feelings,” Oxborrow said.

A big job, for a lot of people

According to a Stanford University study, tens of thousands of parents in America each year are tasked with how to talk to their kids about school shootings. 

The same research highlights the consequences of school shootings, and why that discussion is so important to have. 

The study found that school shootings can lead to:

  • a drop in student enrollment,
  • higher use of antidepressants in the years following the shooting,
  • an increase in absenteeism and the likelihood of needing to repeat a grade
  • a higher chance that the student won’t graduate high school or college, or graduate college.

“I think whether you’re affected directly, whether you’re in a school or you witness something like this happening in your neighborhood, or in a school where you have kids that you care about, if you’re reading about it in the news, it’s taking a toll on all of us,” Oxborrow concluded.

Related reading:

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Crime, Police + Courts

Former Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Scot Peterson shown, a school arming school staff is aw...

Curt Gresseth

Lawmaker talks about arming school workers, despite studies saying guards don’t prevent gun violence

Arming school workers will lead to safer schools, says a Utah lawmaker whose bill awaits the governor's pen to become law.

2 hours ago

Bountiful police car...

JOSH ELLIS KSLTV.com

One man dead after shooting in Bountiful

Officers in Bountiful arrived on the scene and found a man in his 20s with a gunshot wound. The man later died at the hospital.

1 day ago

execution chamber in idaho prison...

Associated Press

Idaho halts execution by lethal injection after 8 failed attempts to insert IV line

Thomas Eugene Creech Creech, one of the longest-serving death row inmates in the U.S., was wheeled into the execution chamber at the Idaho Maximum Security Institution on a gurney at 10 a.m.

2 days ago

Ruby Franke stands with her attorney, Lamar Winward, at her sentencing on Tuesday. Her brother and ...

Jessica Lowell

Ruby Franke and Jodi Hildebrandt transferred to Utah State Correctional Facility

The two women will each spend one to 15 years at the facility for child abuse.

2 days ago

Ruby Franke appears in a virtual court appearance....

Adam Small

Utah legislators hear from Kevin Franke on life coach regulation

Lawmakers hear from Kevin Franke about regulating life coaches. His ex-wife Ruby Franke and her partner Jodi Hildebrandt are in prison.

2 days ago

Former president Donald Trump, Manhattan trial...

MICHAEL R. SISAK

With trial starting next month, Manhattan DA asks judge for a gag order in Trump’s hush-money case

The Manhattan DA's office asked that Trump be barred from making or directing others to make public statements about people involved in the case.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Listen more, talk less, when addressing school shootings with your kids