Talking To Your Kids About the Newtown Tragedy

A message from Needham Youth Services about talking to kids after the incident in Newtown, Conn. PBS also has strategies for talking and listening to your children about the news.

[Update: Dec. 16] The Jon Mattleman, Youth Services Director sent out a message over the weekend with his advice on talking to kids about the tragedy in Newtown over the weekend. School Superintendent Dan Gutenkast also sent a message shortly afterward. 

The following message is from Jon Mattleman, Needham Youth Services Director:

Dear Parents:

The tragic shooting in Newtown, Connecticut has not only impacted their community, but has touched the nation.  While we have not learned all of the details, we know enough to understand that this was shocking and incredibly sad….even President Obama has a difficult time discussing this when he addressed the nation yesterday.

I write with specific interest in assisting you in how to talk to your children about this event.  For example, we know that children may become anxious about attending school given that has occurred in Newtown, and as adults and parents we want to be able to address their fears and concerns in helpful ways. In addition, the Town of Needham and Needham Public Schools are working together to ensure not only physical safety, but to be there to meet the emotional needs of students during this time.

I invite you to contact me by email at jmattleman@needham.gov if you would like support regarding how to broach this subject with your child. In addition, the Needham Youth Services staff will be available on Monday morning starting at 7:30 a.m. if a parent would like to drop in to our Town Hall office for a face-to-face conversation.

For now, let’s appreciate the good fortune and safety we have in Needham as well as keep the parents and children of Newtown in our thoughts.


Jon Mattleman, Director
Needham Youth Services


Below is the original story:

In the wake of the , parents in Needham may find their children hearing about the tragedy or seeing it on the news and find themselves in a difficult discussion.

For parents seeking guidance on how to address the tragedy with their own children, if it comes up, PBS has an article with flexible suggestions for answering kids' questions about the news.

How would you talk with your children about a tragedy such as the Newtown, CT one? What advice do you have for other parents?
Let us know by posting a comment in the comments section below.


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