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      How to help your child cope with tragedy

      A disaster expert from the University of Missouri shared with KRCG 13 how you can help your child cope with graphic, tragic pictures of the devastation in Oklahoma.

      A disaster expert from the University of Missouri shared with KRCG 13 how you can help your child cope with graphic, tragic pictures of the devastation in Oklahoma.

      Brian Houston is the co-director for the Terrorism and Disaster Center at the university. His research focuses on the mental health effects of disasters.

      Disasters like in Oklahoma can cause fear, anxiety and stress in children ?? emotions that can last a long time. Houston advises listening to your children carefully.

      "Sometimes they may imagine things that are worse than they are or heard rumors that are worse than things are," Houston said. "Talking to kids and clarifying those misconceptions is another thing that parents can do."

      Houston said he wants parents to help their children see how people are helping others during disasters.

      "One thing you can point to when children are watching all of this coverage is look at all of the people that are there to help and look at all of the people that are there to protect," he said. "Even though something bad happened, there are a lot of good people there to help. That can be reassuring to children."

      Houston also said parents should limit their child's exposure to television. He said overexposure to coverage of tragic events also affects teenagers and adults.

      Houston added that he wants parents to remind their children that they are safe at home as they watch disasters in other parts of the country and the world.