The Sandy Hook Tragedy: Dealing With Your Own Anxiety As A Parent

Child Getting on a School BusIn the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy, we rightfully consider how we should talk to our kids, and help them feel safe and secure as they get back to their school routines this week. But what about us parents?

I would think that nearly every parent had a knot in their stomach as they prepared to send their kids off to school today. This tragedy has upped our anxiety as parents for a number of reasons, including:

  • Sandy Hook Elementary had a stringent security system in place – making us feel powerless.
  • This particular shooting has additional gravity because of the age of the kids involved, as it reinforces how vulnerable our kids are out in the world.
  • In the aftermath of Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Aurora, this rampage may end up representing a tipping point for parents, in which we begin to think that these horrific tragedies involving youths (and adults) are not as rare as we’d like to believe.

So how do we go back to our typical day today? The biggest thing I have to latch onto is the extraordinary bravery shown by the teachers and administrators at Sandy Hook Elementary. As we hear more about their quick thinking and actions, it reminds us that teachers don’t treat teaching like it’s just a job. They feel responsible for the kids under their care. Even more than that, they will put themselves in harm’s way, and even give their life for your child. That’s a pretty powerful thing to think about.

It may also help you to talk to someone at your kid’s school. Many schools will be sending out communications. Vigilance will be extraordinary. Reassuring yourself that your school is reviewing their security policies and their action plans will help you reduce your anxiety some.

Look, this latest tragedy is going to hurt for a long, long time. Parents are going to be anxious for a long time as well. But knowing that your teachers and administrators treat your kids like they are their own kids can at least help us take a deep breath when our kids are in school.

For information and resources on dealing with the tragedy, visit the following on

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