The Massive loss of lives at the Branch Davidian compound is a sensitive topic that many parents might try to avoid discussing with their children. However, Dr. Lee Carter, a children’s psychologist, recommends using honesty and open-line communication when dealing with the topic.

  • Based on feedback he has received from his own children, ages 13, 10 and 7, and other parents, he knows that children are interested in what happened at the compound. He recommends using these tips when handling the subject:
  • Set aside time to talk about what happened. Don’t be afraid to bring up the subject. Children are thinking about it and it’s good for them to know what is going on.
  • Ask them what they know about what happened. Find out if their information is accurate or inaccurate.
  • Be truthful in answering their questions. Don’t hide the facts because you think they are too gruesome for children to hear. It is better for children to hear about what happened from their parents than from strangers.
  • Be careful about passing judgment about what happened. Children need to come to their own conclusions. Parents can be a guide, but when they become too forceful in their opinions, it tends to cloud a child’s ability to draw his or her own conclusion.
  • Try not to make an emotional situation out of the discussion. Work around the child getting upset or seeing his or her parents upset.
  • Constantly listen to them discuss what they see and hear about the compound. Listening is a parent’s most powerful communication tool.

Read the Tribune-Herald's 7-part investigative series on the inner workings of the Branch Davidians. Hours after Part Two appeared in print, the ATF raided the group's compound.

Read the Tribune-Herald’s account of the ATF raid on the Branch Davidian compound on Feb. 28, 1993. Four ATF agents and six in the compound were killed in the gunfight.

Read the daily news accounts of the 51-day siege at the Branch Davidian compound near Elk, which began Feb. 28 and lasted until April.

Read the accounts of April 19 and beyond: FBI agents began inserting canisters of tear gas into the Branch Davidian compound in the early morning hours. By noon, it was on fire.