How Yakima Parents Can Reassure Kids After Fatal School Shooting
Central Washington Health Care is celebrating 50 years of mental health service to the region and Clinical Director Ron Gengler was on his way into the radio station this morning to talk about that as well as the impact of opioids on our community...but
But ... a Yakima high school parking lot confrontation yesterday afternoon escalated into a deadly shooting -- ending one life, forever altering another, leaving an indelible impact on the community, and changing the direction of the Gengler's intended conversation with us about mental health and health care.
Put Actions Behind Your Words
Gengler says in the aftermath and uncertainty of tragic or chaotic events, parents need to speak with their kids about reliability with what he calls intentionality.
As tragic and as upsetting as an act of violence may be, kids need to know that the world is intact, that there are systems and people that still work as intended. Kids need to know that there are things that can be relied on. Parents still love you, most people are safe in most situations most of the time, the police do their jobs, the world didn't break, etc.
Respect The Need For An Emotional Reset
Good mental health needs a reset, reassurance, and a perspective/reality check to put tragedy and loss in the proper place.
As an example of intentionality, Gengler says to note the difference between asking your child "How was school?" to which they can simply say "OK" and move on, to asking your kid about something specific, that requires a thoughtful and detailed response, to which you listen intently and perhaps ask follow up questions.
No Time For Lip Service - Be There
Everyone wants to know that they have been heard, that their thoughts and feelings matter. It takes intentional listening to fulfill that need for your kids.
Here's our Interview with Comprehensive Health Care's Ron Gengler