Knoxville psychologist shares how to help children heal after tragedies

Dr. Laurie Williams

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – An entire nation is mourning after 49 people were killed and more than 50 injured during a shooting at an Orlando nightclub.

Clinical psychologist Dr. Laurie Williams says there are ways to help children heal after seeing and hearing about tragedies like the one in Orlando.

“One of the first things that a parent can do is to role model for their child a sense of calm,” said Dr. Williams. “So often we don’t think about it that we’re conveying anxiety, grief or anger in front of our children. And they pick up on how we’re feeling and replicate what we’re doing.”

Related stories: Orlando Nightclub Shooting

Dr. Williams says it’s important children know the roles of first responders. She also mentioned it’s good to share productive ways to make a difference.

“It might be making a contribution to a disaster relief. It might be writing a note. It might be doing something more globally like working for bans on assault rifles,” said Dr. Williams. “Let them know what you as a family are doing to make the sure the world is a safer place.”

When asked, Dr. Williams said giving kids a sense of reality may be challenging since there have been several mass shootings in the last 10 years.

“They have no way of calculating the odds or the risk,” said Dr. Williams. “Speaking about coping rather than tragedy is the right direction.”

If you’re worried about your child, reach our to you pediatrician or go to The site is for both girls and boys.

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