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Talking To Your Kids About Mass Shootings; Pediatric Mental Health Expert Offers Help

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) -- With the number of mass shootings that have taken place in America, children exposed to these horrors can easily and expectedly have a visceral response to the tragedies.

Many parents are now trying to navigate the terrain of explaining these horrific situations to young children and helping them cope with the realities of what has happened.

Pediatric mental health expert and psychologist Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge talks about solutions and tips to help parents in discussing this topic with children. Capanna-Hodge also goes over what to look for if children are experiencing post-traumatic stress or other emotional and mental reactions to these tragedies.

For example, it may take some discerning to realize that children are being affected since they often won't offer that information, she said.

"Really look for signs that your kid is distressed," said Capanna-Hodge. "You know, are they having sleep difficulties? Are they having stomach aches and headaches? These are the signs that children show when they're stressed. They don't experienced stress typically in the same way. They're not going to say, 'Hey mom, I'm really stressed out.'

Among the topic she covers:

- How can parents discuss the recent mass shootings to children

- What effect does these shootings have on the psyche of children

- What can parents do to prepare children for future tragedies

- What signs should parents look for in children suffering from anxiety, PTSD etc. from hearing about these mass shootings

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