Friday, July 20, 2012

How are you going to tell your children about today's events in Colorado?

I'm finding myself at a loss for words.  My boys are old enough that they need to be told about the events in Aurora, Colorado early this morning.  If I'm not the one to tell them, they will surely hear about it shortly from one of their friends and I'm not okay with that.  I want to be sure they gain the information needed to base any fears, sadness or other emotions associated with this tragedy.

Memories of 9/11, Columbine and many of the other tragic events are filling my mind.  Wonder of what has come of this world and how much it has changed since I was a child.

What concerns me most is the fear of the copy cat incidents like the ones that occurred after Columbine.  Will today's incident affect my movie going, absolutely, I can't deny that.  But do I want it to also be present in the minds of my young boys as they go to movies this Summer, no.  That's not fair to them.  I feel like it's our job as parents to shelter children enough to allow them to live a happy childhood, yet teach them enough, early enough so they can make smart decisions.

Do we not discuss it with them, and hope they don't hear about it from friends?  It is Summer break and they aren't in school every day.  I have mixed emotions because I know it is probably inevitable they will hear about it and I'd reather deal with it head on.

Did horrible tragedies happen when we were all children?  Absolutely, but the difference that has occurred is the broadcast media.  Now we all hear about all of these incidents on a world wide level instead of regionally or only if it happened in your city.  Our children are growing up learning more about the harshness the world has to offer, but will it make them stronger or weaker?

Have you discussed the incidents today with your children?  Join in on the OCMomActivities Facebok page.  I'm really struggling with how to broach this with my children and I would love ideas and other thoughts on this.


Shannon Bradley-Colleary July 23, 2012 at 11:34 AM  

My kids are old enough now that they're hearing all of this news. I haven't come up with a strategy yet and am very curious to check back and hear all the suggestions.

Sharlene July 23, 2012 at 12:10 PM  

My kids are only 5 and I don't think it is healthy to tell them unless they hear about it on their own. It isn't fair tot put that sort of heavy weight on a child who is still trying to understand the concept of time.

Jeannine July 23, 2012 at 1:02 PM  

From a psychologist point of view (married to one and read several posts by child experts)... if they ask - answer their questions simply, directly - reassuring them that it is not about going to the movies/ that movie, etc - that sometimes just bad things happen - but if they do NOT ask - don't feel a need to discuss! I think Betsy Braun Brown has the best advice on this kind of thing

Jennifer Willey July 23, 2012 at 5:17 PM  

My kids are only 3 and 4 and I feel they are too young to understand. However, I would love to hear how other people are approaching older children as some day, god forbid, some tragic event happens, I'll have some knowledge on how to handle this.

Admin July 23, 2012 at 5:54 PM  

We have not talked with them about it. We don't know if it is the right decision.

Yvonne Condes,  July 23, 2012 at 8:57 PM  

I talked to my boys about it a little bit. But they are too young to comprehend it. I didn't want to scare them, but I didn't want them to overhear one of the camp counselors talking about it and have that be their only source of information.

Desiree Eaglin July 23, 2012 at 9:18 PM  

This is a tough one, I'm not sure what I would say exactly but it would probably be very simple. I would probably say something along the lines of "There are good people and bad people in the world. Bad people do bad things and a bad thing happened at a theater in another state far away from us" Then I would answer his questions. Thank goodness my kids are too young.

Eva Smith July 23, 2012 at 11:59 PM  

My daughter is a young adult now. Since she was a toddler I have always been very honest with her. I'd rather she hear it from me or someone at school.

Caryn B. July 24, 2012 at 8:59 AM  

My kids are definitely too young and I agree with many that if my son (in particular) were to hear about it and ask me, I'd answer his questions directly without going into too much detail. Sharlene is so right that it isn't fair for me to put that on them right now so we've had the TV turned off and we're hoping that he doesn't hear it from his friends at camp. : (

Unknown July 24, 2012 at 9:36 AM  

Thankfully mine are too small to ask. But I agree, answer their questions directly. It's the best way.

Adrienne July 30, 2012 at 3:58 PM  

My kids were in high and middle school when 9/11 happened. Of course not the same level of violence but for comparison it is all I have. We spoke of it honestly and openly (my son is half Pakistani) and worked through possible scenerios. Had they been in elementary school or younger I don't think I would have discussed it as much.
FOr this situation I know my daughter has not mentioned it to her kids (6 and 3). Kids should be on a "need to know" basis, and only be told what is necessary for their immediate well being.

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