How do we talk to our children about Oxford? Guidelines for navigating hard conversations

With the Downtown Oxford Candlelight Vigil beginning at 7 p.m. tonight, in response to the fatal shooting at the Oxford High School on Tuesday, parents across Metro Detroit are grappling with how to talk to their children about the recent gun violence.

Sadly, they aren't alone, but there are resources to help. We've compiled a list of guides, many from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, that can assist with navigating tough conversations at this time:

Talking to Children about the Shooting
Provides information on how to talk to children about mass shootings, how to start the conversation, common reactions children may have, and how to seek help if needed.

Parent Guidelines for Helping Youth After the Recent Shooting
Offers parents guidance on helping their children after a shooting. This fact sheet describes common reactions children may have, how parents can help them, and self-care tips after an event.

Age-Related Reactions to a Traumatic Event
Describes how young children, school-age children, and adolescents react to traumatic events and offers suggestions on how parents and caregivers can help and support them.

PFA: Parent Tips for Helping Adolescents
A handout from Psychological First Aid Field Operations Guide (PFA). This handout provides parents with common reactions after a disaster, ways to respond to those reactions, and examples of things you can say to your adolescent.

Tip Sheet for Youth Talking to Journalists after Mass Violence
Provides guidance to youth, parents, caregivers, and others who work with youth about talking to the media after a mass violence event. This fact sheet details the rights of a child or adolescent when speaking with the media, as well as the signs of a good reporter.

Dealing with the Aftermath of Tragedy in the Classroom
A guide from the Borough of Manhattan Community College.

Making Donations
Oxford Bank, Oxford Community Schools, and the Downtown Oxford - DDA have established the Oxford Community Memorial and Victim’s Fund to accept donations for their families and the community.

Attending the Vigil
Tonight, Friday, Dec 3, at 7 p.m. a platform will be set up at four corners of downtown Oxford (M24 and Burdick Street, facing southbound), with a silent time planned for the beginning of the vigil and ringing of local church bells for four minutes in honor of the students who lost their lives. Parking lots will be open, but side roads will start being blocked from 6 p.m. to prepare for M24 closure at 6:30 p.m. (East Street to Broadway Street). 5,000 candles will be available, donated by Oxford Bank, as well as free hot chocolate stations located at the designated four corners.

Oxford School buses will be running from three locations:
Meijer Parking Lot (Garden Center)
Legacy Center (South End)
Seymour Lake Park (Tennis Courts)
Pick-ups will run consistently from 5:30-6:45 p.m.
Drop-offs after the Vigil will be 7:45-9 p.m.

Lake Orion buses will run from one location: Friendship Park
Pick-ups will run consistently from 5:30-6:45 p.m.
Drop-offs after the Vigil will be 7:45-9 p.m.

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