BOSTON (CBS) – The tragic news of Kobe Bryant’s death sent a shockwave across the country. For kids who grew up watching him play, the news can be difficult to cope with.
Thirteen-year-old Jandell Marcano plays basketball for Hopkinton Middle School and wears the No. 24 because of Kobe. He was playing the video game NBA 2K as Kobe when he heard Bryant had died. “I was playing 2K, with him, then 10 minutes later I found out he died,” Jandell said. He was then devastated to learn Bryant’s daughter, Gianna, was also killed in the helicopter crash. She was the same age as Jandell.
Elizabeth Booma is a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Newton-Wellesley Hospital and says now is a time when parents should make themselves available to their kids. “Right now all over the news, and on social media, and so kids in some way are re-experiencing it,” Booma said.
The kids who may take this news the hardest, are those who have been through tragedy before. “I would be particularly worried about kids who have had a major loss in their lives before,” said Booma. “Be looking out for any signs of distress like changes in sleep, or changes in appetite, withdrawing from their activities, or losing interest in things.”
If you suspect your child is having a difficult time, Booma says to let them know, “you don’t have to be worried about this by yourself.”
For parents like Matt Pantera, he’s using the tragedy as a learning experience for his boys ages 5 to 13. “Part of it’s dealing with the sadness, but also remembering the great things that he did,” Pantera said.
Pantera said reflecting on how Kobe Bryant lived his life is inspiring. “You’re feeling like I can’t take this day for granted,” Pantera said. “Life is very short and I need to make sure I live every minute of it. Kobe Bryant lived every minute of his life.”