How parents can talk to children about school shootings

Dr. Jennifer Ashton and former Secret Service agent Evy Poumpouras discuss how parents can talk to children about these tragedies, and how to emotionally prepare them for their return to school.
4:33 | 02/15/18

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Transcript for How parents can talk to children about school shootings
We're here with Dr. Jennifer Ashton and law enforcement analysts evy poumpouras with more on how to talk to your children about this tragedy as pardons and children across the country understandably are scared and struggling to process all this and thank you, both, for joining me. Dr. Jen, you have dealt with trauma in emergency situations and even students who don't go to parkland may be scared to go to school this morning. Absolutely. S a parent how do you soothe their children's fears. I think, lessons we can take from physical trauma can be extrapolated to psychological trauma. The first thing, the caregiver has to take care of him or herself first. Your children will pick up on your fear or anxiety so if you're not in a good place to have this discussion wait until you are. Secondly I think we need to find out what they've seen or heard on social media because that's a new aspect to this shooting that we haven't seen as vividly in the past. The conversations, Michael, have to be age appropriate and they have to be temperament appropriate for your child because they have different sensitivities and then we have to reassure them even though bad things happen they are safe and remind them their feelings are not dangerous. They have to feel safe to express those feelings and lastly, if you feel overwhelmed as a parent to handle this, please bring in trained mental health professional, social workers, psychologists. They are experts in this. This is what they do best. Overwhelmed as a parent, imagine your child and what they must feel. Every, you counsel schools in this situation. Not all have a plan. How do they handle this? First you want to move away from the sound of shots. You may not be able to see the shots so wherever the sound is coming from you want to go in the opposite direction. If you can evacuate that's the first thing you want to try to do. Sometimes you can't so find somewhere to harden up meaning find a room, closet, lock and barricade the door and move away from windows and stay there and stay put while you wait for help. And you kind of alluded to social media and almost every teen has a cell phone now. In indicate in situations like that what are the dos and don'ts. It's the one time where you must be self-aware. Where you should not be on your phone. You should be -- have all your senses so you know what's going on around you. Take your phone and put it on silent. Everybody will start calling you. You don't want to give away where you're hiding. Second, text a mother or father and say, hey, I'm on the second floor, I'm hiding in this room. Please send help. Now you also are helping police letting them know where students are and you're coordinating with someone letting them know you're okay. You should not be posting this on social media because this is happening and so you don't know if there's one shooter, two shooters, you don't know if they're monitoring social media so now they know where you are, where you're hiding. And we saw one of the students earlier that George in one of our pieces said I had my headphones in, I didn't even know so you always have to be aware. And, Dr. Jen, what type of mental health counseling is there out there? We need to remember there are social workers, psychologist, psychologists, there are grief counselors and they don't come in with licensed sirens, they're doing it islandly and will continue for weeks and months and saving as many lives as first responders so ask for help because this is what they do and I think as parents and as medical professionals we have to remember that you can teach a child of any age like evy said basic steps of what to do in an emergency. What to do when someone is choking or bleeding. Unfortunately what to do in cases of an active shooter and that information, that preparedness can be incredibly empowering for a child. Many of these kid, every, they seem to know what to do and had a drill about this a few days ago. What else do you recommend for kids? As a parent don't assume the school is doing something. Some don't have a lockdown drill. Some don't know what they're doing. You should talk to your child direct and ask what's going on at the school and practice at home with them. Age appropriate as we're discussing. Have discussions and then dialogue with the school. Know what they're doing and then reinforce those habits at home or maybe they're not good and then you can work with the school to change those but this ld be a collective effort. Don't just rely on someone else to keep your children safe. All right, Dr. Jen and evy poumpouras, thank you both. Upstairs to rob.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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