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Talking with Your Kids
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It is vital that parents talk to their children about guns, but this can be a difficult conversation to have. The discussion must be age-appropriate and offer children clear instructions about avoiding guns without adult supervision.

Children are naturally curious, especially when it comes to guns. Parents should not lull themselves into a false sense of security on this matter, even if they have spoken to their children about guns. As Judy Shaw, Director of the Injury Prevention Program at Children’s Hospital in Boston, noted, "any small child who picks up a gun . . . is going to put a finger on the trigger and click it." All parents must take common sense steps to protect children both by talking to them about guns and by unloading and locking all guns so that a child or teen cannot access them without direct adult supervision.

Read our summary of tips about talking to your kids about guns, or click on a link below for practical advice about talking to your kids about other important topics.




Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine 160: 542-547, 5/30/2006
Important!Parental Misperceptions About Children and Firearms
This study found that many parents who were living in homes with firearms and who reported that their children had never handled firearms in their homes were contradicted by their children's self-reports. Furthermore, the study also found that those parents who locked their guns and discussed gun safety with their children were as likely to be contradicted as parents who did not take such safety measures.
Authors: Baxley (San Francisco General Hospital) and Miller (Harvard School of Public Health).


Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Important!Preventing Suicide
To help prevent suicide, follow these tips suggested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Depressive and Manic- Depressive Association. Also, included is a description of the problem and additional resources.


Pediatrics, 9/5/2005
Important!Survey finds 1.7 million children live in home with unlocked, loaded guns
This survey examined the prevalence of household firearms and firearm-storage practices to estimate the number of children exposed to unsafe storage practices. Among its findings were that 1.7 million of today's youth, ages 18 and under, are living in households with unlocked, loaded firearms.
Authors: Catherine A. Okoro, David E. Nelson, James A. Mercy, Lina S. Balluz, Alex E. Crosby, and Ali H. Mokdad


Children Now
Important!Talking with Kids about Violence
Parents and other caring adults have a unique opportunity to talk with their children about tough issues first, before everyone else does. This site provides tips and techniques for discussing this difficult subject with kids.


Sherri Chessen
Important!The Gorp's Gift Teacher's Guide
Using the book, the Gorp's Gift, with its interactive pledge and Teacher's Guide, is a proven natural for teaching Violence Prevention. Classroom presentations have shown that the children not only 'get' Gorp's message of non- violence and peaceful conflict resolution, but they remember it, too.


American Academy of Pediatrics
Important!Violence Prevention in the Home
This brochure offers basic, but important, advice about how to prevent violence in the home.


National Crime Prevention Council
A Dozen Things a Parent can do to Stop School Violence
Help stop school violence with this starter list of ideas. Some require only individual action; some require concerted effort. Some address immediate issues; others address the problems that cause violence. Consider this list a launching pad.


SAMHSA/The Center for Mental Health Services
Age-specific Interventions at Home for Children in Trauma: From Preschool to Adolescence
This brochure offers age-specific tips and suggestions on how parents can help their child when exposed to a disaster or traumatic event.


Policefamilies.com
Family Resiliency: Strategies 101
This website contains some excellent advice on having positive communication experiences with your kids. It also suggests some family problem solving techniques and exercises for parents and kids to practice healthy communication.


Boston Parents' Paper, 8/1/1999
Guns in Your Homes and Others (excerpt)
Read what a Boston parents magazine says about talking to your kids about gun safety and safely storing firearms and ammunition.


Hospice Net
How to Talk to Your Children About Death
by J.W.Worden PhD
If you are concerned about discussing death with your children, you’re not alone. Many hesitate to talk about death, particularly with youngsters. But death is an inescapable fact of life. We must deal with it and so must our children; if we are to help them, we must let them know it’s okay to talk about it. This article can help you open the lines of communication with your child.


7/3/2003
KidsGrowth.org
An article with tips on gun storage and how to keep your kids safe.


National Crime Prevention Council
Making Peace -- Tips on Managing Conflict
Conflict produces stress, hurts friendships, and can cause injury and death. We can't always avoid conflict but we can learn to manage it without violence. That way, we use conflict to improve our lives and to learn from past mistakes. (Requires Adobe Reader.)


The Huntsville Times, 6/10/2001
Parental Influence Early in Childhood Crucial to Helping Gun Safety Issue (column)
The author talks about the role guns and gun safety play in his household, which includes his 3-year-old son and five-year-old daughter.


American Psychological Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics
Raising Children to Resist Violence: What You Can Do
Research shows that violent or aggressive behavior is often learned early in life. However, parents, family members, and others who care for children can help them learn to deal with emotions without using violence. Parents and others can also take steps to reduce or minimize violence. This brochure is designed to help parents work within the family, school, and community to prevent and reduce youth violence.


The National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children
Recognizing the Signs of a Grieving Child
by Rebecca Roberts Konarz, MSW, LSW
This article offers warning signs of a child affected by a traumatic experience or event that resulted in the loss a loved one. It points out the signs for two age groups: infants/preverbal toddlers and those children who are toddlers, preschoolers, and school age.


National Fire Protection Association
Risk Watch: Unintentional Injuries
Risk Watch is a comprehensive injury prevention program available for use in schools that gives children and their families the skills and knowledge they need to create safer homes and communities. This school-based curriculum is divided into five age-appropriate teaching modules from Pre-K to grade 8, with specific materials written for parents on firearm injury prevention.


Sylvia Ozner-Segal, 4/6/2004
Safe Songs 4 Kids
This four part program, designed for kids 3 to 12, teaches kids about gun safety through the use of music, songs, games and a book that includes questions to check comprehension. Safe Songs for Kids and an award winning program, endorsed by The Children's Foundation and National Association of Chiefs of Police and the American Federation of Police.


Partnership for a Drug Free America, 2/2/2005
Study Shows Fewer Parents Talk to Their Children About Drug Use
A recent study found that one in ten parents say they have never spoken to their kids about drugs. The study suggests that parents today see less harm with illicit drug use and are thus less likely to talk to teens about drug abuse. Research shows that parents significantly underestimate drug use today. This site provides links to other valuable resources on how to talk to your kids about a variety of issues they may face on a regular basis.


Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics 24:352-358, 10/1/2003
Study Shows Guns May Hold Unique Allure for Young Boys
This study, entitled "Effects of Gun Admonitions on the Behaviors and Attitudes of School-Aged Boys," showed the discrepancy between what boys say and what boys do when it comes to firearms. While many boys say they are not interested in playing with guns, many will still touch a gun if left alone with one. Read Press Release.
Author: Hardy (Eckerd College).


Pathfinders Publishing
Talking About the Loss of a Brother or Sister
by Janis Harris Lord
This article provides help on how to talk about the loss of a child or sibling in the family. It suggests that it is best for families to grieve together, and offers sound advice on how to heal together.


The Family Clinic
Talking to a Traumatized Child
by Daniel T. Moore, Ph.D.
Repeated trauma is difficult for both parents and children. Some children are better at coping with severe trauma than other children. Everyone has their own unique way of responding and recovering from traumatic experiences. As a parent, the main goal is to allow your child to start the recovery process as soon as possible. This article offers advice on how to begin this process.


American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
Talking to Children About War and Terrorism: Tips for Parents
This article provides parents with simple ways to have an open dialogue with children, answer children’s questions, identify physical symptoms that may indicate stress or anxiety, and work with school personnel concerning classroom discussions.


National Crime Prevention Council
Talking with Children about Violence
The downloadable and printable brochure features tips on how to address the subject of violence with your children. The document features several talking points as well as suggestions to help parents encourage nonviolent behavior. (Requires Adobe Reader.)


Common Sense about Kids and Guns
Talking with Your Kids about Guns
This webpage provides some tips on how to talk with your kids about guns and it's in accordance with their age group.


National Crime Prevention Council
Turning Off Media Violence
Exposing children to violence can make them less sensitive to the pain and suffering of others, more fearful of the world around them, and more willing to act aggressively. Fortunately, most media violence can be turned off.


Healthy Kids
Violence in Schools: Explaining Tragedy
Advice on how to talk to kids about violence in schools.


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Please note: Common Sense and its endorsing organizations do not necessarily endorse all content stemming from the links provided in this page. All resources in these web pages are provided for information purposes only and should not be construed as professional advice. Advice and opinions on mental health and other medical issues should be obtained through consultation with a licensed and trained professional.


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