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How to talk to your kids about back-to-school safety concerns

EL PASO, Texas -- A new school year is meant to be an exciting time, but it can also be filled with anxiety for some. This school year, safety is top of mind.

ABC-7 spoke to some El Paso students who said they feel safe heading into the new school year, but not all kids might feel that way.

Dr. Sarah Martin, chief of child and adolescent psychiatry at Texas Tech University Health Sciences of El Paso, said your child is worrying, try to make them feel as comfortable as they can. Answer any questions they might have directly, especially when it comes to explaining what happened in Uvalde.

The mass shooting back in May left 19 children and two teachers dead.

"There's a lot of things that you could say that would be unnecessarily frightening, but then you don't ever want your kids to think that you aren't telling them the truth," Dr. Martin said. "Because then you erode the trust between you and your children."

If you as a parent are feeling anxious, Dr. Martin suggests you speak to the school principal or teacher.

Her biggest piece of advice, you never want your anxiety to become your child's. "(Kids) have enough to worry about and if they're not worried about it, I wouldn't make them worry about it," Dr. Martin said.

"Having a child more anxious and on edge is not going to keep them safer, it's probably actually the opposite. If they are feeling anxious and unsafe, then they're more likely to panic when something does go wrong."

There are other resources within the school system, like counselors and teachers who can help your child.

Professional help is also an option.

Dr. Martin recommends if your child is generally anxious about the new school year, "the best way for a child to look at a new thing as exciting and not scary, is if the parents learn to look at things the same way."

Article Topic Follows: Education

Brianna Chavez

Brianna Chavez is an ABC-7 reporter/producer.

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