How to talk to your child about the Adam Toledo police shooting video

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The trauma of seeing another police shooting of a teen of color only adds to what some are already dealing with in Chicago.

RELATED | Bodycam video of 13-year-old Adam Toledo killed by CPD released by COPA

"We are trying to start gearing up our team, 'Hey, get prepared for a potential spike on the helpline and make sure you talk to clients we serve,'" said Pastor Chris Harris, Bright Star Community Outreach.
Harris created a trauma counseling center called Bright Star Community Outreach.

In 2018, Harris said they surveyed young people in Bronzeville and found 50% had clinical depression. He fears the number is going up after a difficult 2020 and after seeing yet another police shooting video.

"They are traumatized just hearing about it," he said. "Imagine when they release the video, when they see it and witness it again."

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CPS sent parents and staff letters Wednesday about Adam Toledo's connection to CPS as well as ways to support students, saying in part: "The district has developed a collection of professional and mental health resources to help our educators create a safe space where students can ask questions and express their feelings freely."
"It's inevitable kids will see it, teens will see it," said Dr. Sonya Dinizulu, a child and adolescent psychologist at UChicago Medicine, who specializes in trauma and resilience treatment.

Doctor offers advice on processing traumatic events

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Dr. Aderonke Pederson from Northwestern discusses how to process traumatic stories such as the shootings of Adam Toledo and Daunte Wright.

She is also a mother of two who is having conversations with her children about race and safety around police. She urges parents and caregivers to listen to their kids and do their best to answer their questions and share honestly.

"It makes sense you would feel upset or angry or frustrated or sad or anxious from watching these videos," Dinizulu said. "You can say for yourself, if you feel that way as a parent, however, we are going to work together through this, and not allow this to take over our lives."

Dinizulu also recommends limiting exposure of the video and reminding children about good things in their lives and in the world.

Bright Star Community Outreach
Helpline: 833-TURN-123
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