Tips for parents on coping with their student's trauma
Events such as those at Virginia Tech are horrifying and arouse anxiety in
various ways. College students may feel especially vulnerable. If this could
happen on one campus, they are reminded that it could happen anywhere.
Dr. Karen Settle, director of Counseling and Testing at
SMU, offers these suggestions for relating to your student in the aftermath.
- Talk with your student as often as needed. You may
find that he or she wants more contact with family at this time, and that is
- Encourage your student to express his or her feelings
about the incident. Provide support, realizing that all feelings are
- Reassure your student that strong feelings after a
tragedy are not uncommon. You might ask, “It must have been so upsetting to
hear about the shootings at Virginia Tech.”
- Realize that being away from home may be disconcerting
at this time; your student may have never experienced this form of anxiety
- Consider asking, “Are you worried about anything at this point?”
This will give your student the opportunity to express any particular fears.
- Encourage your student to seek support from fellow
students. Advise your student to be alert to campus communications and
familiar with emergency procedures on campus.
- If your student needs to talk with a professional,
suggest that he or she visit the Counseling and Testing Center in the
Memorial Health Center or the Office of the Chaplain and University
Ministries in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center.
- If parents are concerned about their student and want
to consult with a professional, call the Counseling and Testing Center at
214-768-2211. Further information is available at
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