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Message to NCPS Parents from Superintendent of Schools

The following message was sent to New Canaan Public Schools Parents today
by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi:

 

Speaking to Children about Difficult Topics

 

Dear Parents,


The recent tragic events in New Canaan have been difficult for our entire community, and we are praying for a swift resolution to the investigation.  Given the duration and intensity of these events, we recognize that our students may be hearing about what has occurred, which may lead them to have strong feelings and powerful questions about these events.  As we each struggle to comprehend for ourselves, it can be equally challenging for us to know how to talk to our children about such difficult topics, and to know how to best support them in the face of such troubling news.

 

In the hope that they will be helpful to you, attached are three articles that provide some clear and actionable advice on how to best approach difficult topics as you talk with your children. Generally, the best approach is to actively listen to your children and follow their lead in determining how much you say.  Inquire about what they may have heard, and prompt them to ask you their questions.  Let them tell you how they are feeling, and try to resist the urge to label their feelings for them.  By taking the time to validate their feelings and to listen carefully, you will be able to support them where they are with the support they need.  In such a situation, it’s important not to force them to talk or to make them think they should be feeling something that they are not; more powerfully, just make sure they know that you are present and available for them when they need you.  Of course, at the end of the conversation, reassure them that you will do everything to keep them safe.

 

For all of us, this is a time that we need a little extra connection and reassurance, and it is helpful to purposefully make some extra time to be together as a family and to reach out to friends.  New Canaan is a resilient community whose strength comes from our ability to care for each other in difficult times, and together we will support and strengthen one another as this tragedy continues to unfold.

 

Our counselors, social workers and psychologists are all available to your children should they need to talk to someone at school.  Please also feel free to reach out to our mental health staff if you have questions or concerns about your child or children.

 

Please take good care of yourself, your loved ones, and each other, and never hesitate to contact us if we can be of assistance.

 

Warm regards,

Bryan

 

American Psychological Association- How to talk to children about difficult news

 

American Academy of Pediatrics- Talking to children about tragedies

 

Mayo Clinic: Tips for talking to children about tragedy

 
 
The message was also sent to all NCPS staff.