Tips for Parents After a Tragedy

Tips for Parents after a Tragedy

Life threatening events occuring on any campus are horrifying and arouse anxiety in various ways. College students may feel especially vulnerable. If this could happen on one campus, they are reminded that it could happen anywhere.

Dr. Karen Settle, director of Counseling and Testing at SMU, has offered these suggestions for relating to your student in the aftermath of such horrific events.. We have adapted the suggestions to consider the needs of the Brown University community.

  • Talk with your student as often as needed. You may find that he or she wants more contact with family at this time, and that is normal.

  • Encourage your student to express his or her feelings about the incident. Provide support, realizing that all feelings are legitimate.

  • Reassure your student that strong feelings after a tragedy are not uncommon. You might comment: "It must be so upsetting for you to hear about what happened."

  • Realize that being away from home may be disconcerting at this time; your student may have never experienced this form of anxiety previously.

  • Consider asking, “Are you worried about anything at this point?” This will give your student the opportunity to express any particular fears.

  • Encourage your student to seek support from fellow students. Advise your student to be alert to campus communications.

If your student needs to talk with a professional, suggest that he or she visit Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) (863-3476), the Office for Student Life (863-3145), or the Office of the Chaplain and Religious Life (863-2344). If you are concerned about your student and want to consult with a professional, please feel free to call Brown University Counseling and Psychological Services (401-863-3476).