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Child psychiatrist shares advice for talking to children about Oxford High School shooting

A southeastern Michigan community is mourning the lives of three teenagers who were shot dead Tuesday by a fellow student at an Oxford High School.

to update: 17-year-old boy becomes fourth student to die in Oxford High School shooting

A 15-year-old sophomore is in police custody after he opened fire at the high school on Tuesday afternoon, killing three students and wounding eight others.


more: Sheriff: The Oxford High School shooter used a 9mm pistol that the father had bought recently

As the investigation continues and those involved address what happened, most other people must deal with another difficult task: How should we talk to children about school shootings, especially when they happen in our community?

Dr. Tahmina Shakir, a child psychiatrist at Wayne State Health, says parents and caregivers should approach the difficult subject in different ways depending on the child’s age. She says children respond differently to traumatic events, particularly events like the Oxford High School shooting.

For example, Dr. Shaker says that younger primary school children may respond to traumatic events by clinging and worrying, and/or may regress and have difficulty sleeping or eating properly.


Older high school-aged children may respond to experiencing a traumatic event with irritability or rudeness, or they may isolate themselves to handle the situation on their own.

Dr. Shakir says the most important thing is to ensure that the line of communication between children and adults is open during such crises. According to Shaker, when children begin to communicate, whether it be with their friends, family members, or other adults in their lives, they begin to process and understand what happened.

Watch the full report in the video above.

more: Oxford High School shooting: Everything we learned during 3 police briefings on Tuesday

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