How to talk with children, teens about gun violence

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — When you think about the latest school shooting or security at schools, no matter who you are, these scary situations can cause a lot of stress and anxiety. 

KOB 4’s Spencer Schacht spoke to experts Tuesday about why we are seeing more guns in the hands of youth and how parents should have these tough conversations with their children. 

“One of the problems is a gun is such a symbol of power in our society so by having a gun that gives you the sense of power and unfortunately there are so many story lines or tropes in our society where power makes right,” Child Psychiatrist Scott Carroll said. 

If it’s not just the illusion of power, perhaps it’s for protection. Gun violence prevention advocates say children think they need a weapon to defend themselves. 

“That is a real situation not always in mass shooting but kids bringing guns to parties kids bringing guns everywhere they go because they think, ‘it’s going to make them safer,’” New Mexicans for the Prevention of Gun Violence President Miranda Viscoli said. 

Both Carroll and Viscoli said it’s more important than ever for parents to talk to their children about guns – and be aware of what’s happening in their circles. 

“My advice to them is to put down the gun we all need to put down the firearms and stop using them to solve our personal disputes,” Viscoli said.

They say while the conversation is necessary, so is the way you approach it. 

“Children will reference you about how to respond to situations so if you are calm and reassuring they will be calmer and reassured,” Carroll said. 

Carroll added that when tragedies happen, like this recent mass shooting, it’s important to step away from the news – not only for your own mental health, but for your child’s.