If you're at all like me, you've probably heard more about the tragedy in Tuscon than you ever wanted to know. For days it permeated most newscasts, and there are articles in the paper and online almost every day.

Despite the widespread coverage of this tragedy, your child may still be in the dark. Depending on his age and exposure to national news media, he may not even know that something bad happened. Since he will hear about it sooner or later, it can be worthwhile to talk to them yourself so that he hears it from you first.

However, many parents don't know how to tackle uncomfortable topics with children. There's a delicate balance to maintain — you want him to know what happened, but you don't want to frighten or disclose too many gory details. If keeping your footing here seems impossible, here are some tips to get you started.

1. Have a Plan

While it's important that your child know something happened in a tragedy such as Tuscon, it's up to you as to how much detail you want to give. Based on his age, maturity, and media exposure, decide what you want him to know. Write down notes if it will help you remember and be sure to say all you want to say.

2. Ask Questions

Before you jump in, find out what your child knows. Ask him what he has heard, what his teachers have said, and what other children have told him. You may find that he already knows a lot about what happened, or knows very little. Either way, it gives you a place to start.

3. Fill in the Gaps

Tell your child what you want him to know about the tragedy. Be straightforward, and use simple words and sentences. Stay calm, as this will help him take in the facts of the situation.

4. Ask About Feelings

Once your child knows what happened, he will probably have emotions about it. Ask him to tell you about his feelings. He will probably feel what others around the country are feeling: sad, angry, scared, and shocked. However, he may comes up with something entirely different. That's okay. Kids respond to difficult events in different ways.

It's important that you listen to your child's feelings without judgment. If he is unable to describe what they feel, you can help by saying something like, "It's sad that so many people got hurt, isn't it?" Naming feelings helps children process difficult incidents.

5. Encourage Questions

Depending on the child, you may or may not be bombarded with questions during your conversation. If you are, listen carefully and answer as best you can. If you are not, let your child know that he can come to you later if there's anything he wants to know. Leaving the door open will give him permission to process now and come back to you later.

6. Provide Reassurance

Let your child know that, while things like the tragedy in Tuscon happen, he does not need to be afraid. Reassure him that you will be with him when you go out, and that he does not need to worry about something like this happening to him.

7. Sum It All Up for Your Child

You don't have to have all the answers, but it will help your child if you give them some summation of the events. This can be as easy as saying, "Now we're all sad and angry that people got hurt, but we know that things like this don't happen all the time." This puts the event in perspective as the child moves into the future.

Remember that each child is different. Some may want to know more facts, while others may need to spend a lot more time discussing their feelings. You know your child best, and so you can tailor your conversation to meet his particular needs. And don't worry about doing this perfectly — it's more important to have the conversation than to do it all right the first time.