HEBRON – As people around the country are still trying to come to terms with the tragic shooting in Parkland, Florida, one local mother and former teacher is trying to make sense of her two daughters’ recent disturbing behavior.
The mother, Kathy Loiselle said her two daughters had a play date with a friend last week, just a couple days after the shooting in Florida.
It started with them playing with their American Girl dolls and quickly escalated to them pretending to be in a school lockdown, telling each other to hide under their desks because of a shooting.
Loiselle said she has become concerned as to why her children are acting this way.
A typical day of Harper, 5, and Kaelyn, 7 means playing with their buckets of toys. Much of their playing includes pretending like they are somewhere else.
Not once did Loiselle think they would one day pretend they are in a dark classroom during a school lockdown, using words one would only hear during a scary situation.
“This weekend, I heard something about ‘get inside’ or ‘hide, we need to hide!’” said Loiselle of Hebron.
Being a former high school teacher herself, she said she always had that fear of a tragedy happening at her school. She said to know this is the era her daughters now live in where school lockdowns are the norm is very scary to her.
“If this is my children’s way of playing, if it was every day all day, I would be concerned. If it’s here and there and this is something they’re kind of progressing through themselves, it’s their way of kind of learning through it,” added Loiselle.
FOX61 sat down with Pamela Pratt, a behavioral specialist with St. Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury to get some perspective.
“That’s very normal. Very normal. Depending on what age that child is, I would encourage that play and I would encourage talking with the child during that play, what did you see? What did you hear? What are you feeling?” said Pratt.
Pratt added tragic incidents like the one in Florida can help bring light to serious issues that need to be changed like mental health.
“Surveys just came out today that the United States have the highest need for mental health services,” added Pratt.
Loiselle said she hopes her daughters’ current behavior can be an example to other mothers who are experiencing a similar situation with their children, letting them know it is okay.
Pratt stressed the importance of identifying mental health issues, something she believes needs to be improved on in the country.
If you think you know someone who may need help in any shape or form, you may contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration at 1-800-985-5990.