Walbridge Block Watch helps parents talk to children about tragedy

The Walbridge Block Watch Program is always working to better their community.

Wednesday night the community partnership group brought in a professional counselor to discuss and address concerns parents may have about talking to children about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

It's been nearly a month since shots rang out in Newtown Connecticut, but despite the time and the distance, counselors say children here in Northwest Ohio may still be trying to cope with the tragedy.

"There's no such thing as thousands of miles away for a kid. They see it on TV and it might as well be next door," said counselor Dr. John Lewton. "It's a matter of if it happened there, then it can happen here."

That's why the Walbridge Block Watch Program wanted to address concerns with parents and grandparents.

"Everyone that has children and sees something like that on the news is going to be touched by it. Just because we're a small community, our kids still have to go to school and we still want to keep them safe," said Patrolman Jeff Goetz of the Walbridge Police Department. "I had a 12 year-old nephew ask me, 'Am I safe in school?' And I didn't know how to answer him. And I though the community is obviously going to have that same issue - I mean how do you talk to a child about something like that?

Dr. Lewton says the worst thing to do is ignore it; he suggests an age-appropriate conversation, without giving a false sense of security or false sense of danger.

"What we have to do is recreate that safe world for them to live in so they can go back to their performance standards from before the even happened," said Lewton.

Grandfather Bob Baker tells us although he believes his grandchildren are not dwelling on the tragedy, he wanted to learn what he could to to help them if they needed it.

"As a grandfather,I'm there. I spoil them with love. That's what it's all about with us. We do what we can for our grandkids."

Lewton says to keep an eye on kids that disengage in their usual activities, show continued high levels of emotions, or stop caring about their appearances.

He says most children will return to their normal activities and emotions one to six weeks after a tragedy.