Sandy Hook mom shares parenting advice in wake of Uvalde shooting: The way you talk to your kids 'matters almost as much as the news'

·3-min read
A makeshift memorial at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, days after the deadly school shooting in 2012. Now, in the wake of the Uvalde school shooting, the mom of victim Ana Grace is offering words of hard-won wisdom. (Photo: REUTERS/Carlo Allegri )
Mourners made a makeshift memorial at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, days after the deadly school shooting in 2012. Now, in the wake of the Uvalde school shooting, the mom of victim Ana Grace is offering words of hard-won wisdom. (Photo: REUTERS/Carlo Allegri )

A mother whose child was murdered at the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting is speaking out in the wake of the Tuesday shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

Nelba Márquez-Greene, whose daughter Ana Grace was one of 26 people killed at the shooting in Newtown, Conn., took to the Facebook page of her organization the Ana Grace Project — which aims to teach empathy and foster healthy communities — to speak to parents who are sharing the news of the Robb Elementary School shooting with their kids.

“The way you talk and present current events and tragedies to your child — the way you explain it to them — matters almost as much as the news," she wrote. "Your children will take their cues from you. They need to know they are safe with you. This is a terrifying thing to do and it will feel like lying considering all of the things happening in this world. But it’s our job as parents. Trust me, as a mother and mental health professional who has had to deliver the worst news. Take care of yourself, parent/caregiver. And then talk to your child/ren — the young people you care for.”

In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, Márquez-Greene advised parents to limit social media and provide children with age-appropriate information, as well as to “do something fun and connecting and be grateful you still can.”

“Taking my own advice,” she continued, “I did everything on this list and then transferred $ to [my son] Isaiah’s account with instructions to order himself and his school bestie something nice for dinner. Make a positive memory today, Isaiah. Make all of the memories.”

NEWTOWN, CT - JANUARY 14:  Nelba Marquez Greene and her husband Jimmy Green whose daughter Ana Grace Marquez Green (age 6 in photo), was killed in the Sandy Hook massacre, hold hands during a press conference on the one month anniversary of the Newtown elementary school massacre on January 14, 2013 in Newtown, Connecticut. Eleven families of Sandy Hook massacre victims came to the event one month after the shooting to give their support to Sandy Hook Promise, a new non-profit with the goal of preventing such tragedies in the future.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
A photo of Ana Grace Marquez Green was held by grieving parents Nelba Marquez Greene and Jimmy Green in January, 2013, at the one-month anniversary press conference of the Newtown shooting. (Photo: John Moore/Getty Images)

For people who do not have children, Márquez-Greene said there are other ways to show support.

“Find a gun violence survivor in your area and send them supper. Send a card. Check in. And don’t forget about Buffalo,” she wrote, speaking about the supermarket shooting earlier this month.

She concluded with, “Teachers. Educators. Rational, loving human beings: I am so damn sorry. Again. We have been failed. That I have the capability of doing this and delivering this message to you today is a testament to our community of support, my commitment and your prayers. That there is a repeated need for me to do it? That’s a nation’s shame. Pray for the families.”

Márquez-Greene is just one of many people making a call to action in the wake of yet another shooting in America. Matthew McConaughey, an Uvalde native, took to social media to share an open letter about the murders, urging Americans to “re-evaluate, and renegotiate our wants from our needs" and "find a common ground above this devastating American reality that has tragically become our children’s issue."

"This is an epidemic we can control, and whichever side of the aisle we may stand on, we all know we can do better. We must do better," he continued. "Action must be taken so that no parent has to experience what the parents in Uvalde and the others before them have endured."

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