It would be naive to think that the tragedy that took place in Abbotsford only affected those in that particular school or even in our larger community. Even beyond our borders there will be children, youth and families who will be struggling to understand why this happened and may experience anxiety and trauma.
This letter was sent out by the Central Okanagan school district and it contains some great tips for parents on how to talk with and support their child and youth.
I would add that we have to remember how hard it can be even as adults to reach out for help. It can feel overwhelming and we might think that we are an inconvenience for asking or that there are others who need help more than us. But if someone checks in with us, how much easier is it to acknowledge our feelings and share these?
Now imagine you are a youth who is struggling to understand. And how hard it might be to reach out. Talk with your kids. If they tell you about a friend or another student who is hurting, encourage them to let an adult at their school know. Insist on this. Follow up and make sure it happened. Sometimes having the support come to us makes it easier to talk. Let your child know this is an option, and they can help their friends by ensuring they get connected to a supportive and caring adult.