Sometimes I like to “take a break” from work and see what CNN is showing as top news. Today, I was deeply saddened to see the shooting in Aurora, Colorado. Since my specialty is children’s happiness I had to pause and read about the shooter, James Holmes. I wondered: Who is he? What drove him to do something as horrific as this? Who missed the signs?
Seeing the signs of a shooter
Having worked in mental health for years, I know that shooters always “show signs” before they enact their “big and memorable” and usually horrific actions. So I will share some of the signs of shooters so that you can stay alert for them, nurture in your children the exact opposite (keep them healthy) and if possible, get anyone with this profile to seek professional help immediately. The signs of a shooter are:
Preventing the Pain
So how do we prevent violence like this happening again? First, I believe it is everyone’s responsibility to stay alert for the signs of a shooter and if you “see someone” like this—say something to someone who may be able to help. Second, I know we need to teach young children (K-8) in every classroom how to deal with their emotions, think healthfully and connect with others in positive ways. It is this type of prevention that can positively impact children, communities and eventually the world.
And in the meantime, I also suggest teaching children how to respond to emergencies so they can continue to develop faith in themselves—and their ability to navigate whatever shows up in life.
By Maureen Healy
Maureen Healy is a practicing children’s emotional health expert with more than 20 years of global experience. Her last book, Growing Happy Kids: How to Foster Inner Confidence, Success and Happiness, is available wherever books are sold. More info: www.growinghappykids.com or @mdhealy