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Dr. Phil Offers Advice To Parents Trying To Help Kids Cope With Conn. Tragedy

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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The images are everywhere. And they are haunting. Disturbing.

Adults are having enough trouble comprehending what happened in Newtown, Connecticut today.

Kids — depending on their age — are going to have their own sense of grief, fear, shock.  Will watching the TV coverage help them … or hurt?

CBS2 and KCAL9 reporter Kristine Lazar spoke to Dr. Phil to ask for advice for parents wanting to make sense of this tragedy and how to help their children cope.

The first thing he told Lazar was, don’t ignore it. While the violence occurred thousands of miles away, images on TV and the internet will be hard to miss.

“They will want to know, ‘Mommy, daddy, am I going to be safe at school?” says Dr. Phil.

He encourages parents to sit with their children and talk it out. “And answer their questions,” says Dr. Phil. “And if they ask again and again … be very patient. It doesn’t mean they are obsessing about it. They just need reassurance that the situation hasn’t changed. And that it’s still okay.”

Dr. Phil also warns to monitor how much kids see and hear. He adds, “You want to be very careful … to be honest with them. But also not to over share. You don’t want them overexposed to the media. Children will sometimes watch this on one channel, then another, then another. And when they see different camera angles, and see different people talking about it? They sometimes think that it’s happened time and time and time again. They can think that there is someone out there shooting all of the children.”

Experts say it’s also okay for kids to be “off” for a couple of days and not quite themselves … but if it goes beyond that you will want to try to get them some help.

Also, Dr. Phil told Lazar that it’s okay for kids to see their parents cry. He said it’s okay, parents are human. She reported, “It’s okay for kids to see you cry. Just remember to wipe the tears away and go about your day — that’s it’s okay to be emotional but to also let them know they have to move on.”

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