After a suicide bomber killed nearly two dozen people and injured even more at an Ariana Grande concert in England on Monday night, child psychologists are encouraging parents to talk to their children.
Dr. Laura Saunders, a psychologist at the institute of living for the Hartford Hospital, said it is important to provide assurance to a child.
Saunders encourages telling children that investigators are doing everything they can to keep them safe, but warns to not make any promises.
"You just answer each question, but without using a lot of emotional rhetoric," Saunders said. "Not saying things like, 'I’ll never let you go anywhere', 'this could happen next at your school', 'this could happen next at your movie theater' – not to give that emotional rhetoric because all that does is scare children."
In a time when children and teens can get information quickly through social media, Saunders said it’s fine for them to be informed, but repetition of viewing photos and scenes of tragedies such as the one is Manchester, England, should be limited.
"It’s really being aware of what your kids are doing and monitoring them to the best of your ability," Saunders said.
Moving forward, Saunders suggests creating a plan for when families go somewhere with their children in an effort to limit hysteria. She suggests knowing exit points and having a meeting place in case they get disconnected.
If the child is on their own, for example at a concert, they can also follow what’s called The X plan, which has become largely popular on social media.
"(If) they’re in an uncomfortable situation, they text you ‘x’ and you call them and say, ‘I’m coming to get you’ and you pick them up and you don’t ask any questions," Saunders said. "It creates an exit strategy that they’re willing to use because they're not going to be punished or chastised."
Saunders said if your child asks about what happened and parents sweep it under the rug saying nothing happened, then they lose credibility. She said it's important to be truthful and to give a child the basic information.