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Helping Children Process the Connecticut Tragedy

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  As the nation continues to wrestle with the shootings in Connecticut, a mid-state professor is offering suggestions on how to help children process the tragedy.

Dr. Kathy Burriss is a professor of Early Childhood Development in the  Middle Tennessee State College of Education. She suggests that the amount of news coverage about the tragedy children are exposed to should be limited, and that what they do watch should only be viewed as a family so that parents can answer any questions that may arise.

She also says children's fears for their own safety should be addressed calmly but firmly.

“There are bad people in the world and their parents and teachers and principals will protect them from those bad people. When we’re talking with children, especially our young children, we must be very conscious to keep it age appropriate. Young children do not need all the details.”

Dr. Burriss says children should be encouraged, but not forced, to go to school if they express fear of attending. But she also says expressions of extreme fear are a sign that professional counseling should be sought to help a child move past the tragedy.