The news is bombarding us, the public, from every angle in the aftermath of the tragic and heinous Colorado shooting. There is discussion of many topics: what made this man go on a rampage, gun control, how people and neighbors need to be aware of the unstable signs of those around them, what security measures can be taken to ensure this does not happen again in the future, etc. However, while I have paid attention to the news regarding the topic, one angle that has particularly caught my attention is how to talk to your children about a tragedy. This aroused my interest because I have no intention of talking to my children about this tragedy.
Children are born innocent – a blank slate if you will. As parents, we have many jobs including deciding what to expose our children to – whether it be movies or tragedies and everything in between. Of course, each child is different and maturity does not occur in some predetermined linear fashion. What about parents? What role do we parents play in our children’s maturation process? I have not done nor is this the place for a formal researched paper. However, I am quite certain parents and environment play at least some role in the development of a child’s maturity.
I am a protector. As such, I do not want my children (5 & 8 year-old boys) watching the news, for the most part. My children are exposed to all forms of media; the internet, radio, and television. They read, hear, and see things that I think children their age should not. While I try to monitor what they read, listen to and watch, I can’t protect them from everything nor do I even want too. They will see both the good and the bad in the world – it is inevitable and necessary to be a functioning, thoughtful, and sensitive adult. I do want them to grow up and be mature. However, their development should come in time and naturally with the guidance of my wife and I and not be based on the news cycle.
The Colorado massacre is a terribly sad and horrific event. I grieve for those who lost family members and friends. I am concerned what this means for public safety. I wonder what, if anything, can be done to help ensure such a tragedy never occurs again. However for my children, let them watch Nickelodeon — even Nick Jr. — as long as they can.
I totally agree with you – they do not need to be exposed to this
Thanks for commenting.
Sometimes watching the news makes you feel like you must expose them and if you not, you are sheltering them.
I see nothing wrong with sheltering little ones–they will be faced with reality soon enough. I think you are being wise.
Agreed, let them watch cartoons for a bit longer.
They are much easier to explain – though not always.
Completely agree. My son knows that people die, and has even attended a funeral, and he is completely okay with the concept that people live their lives and when it is their time, they pass on to Heaven. However, the concept of someone TAKING another innocent person’s life BEFORE it is their “time” is something I will shelter my son from for quite a bit longer. It interrupted our Price is Right watching this morning with the news, and we quickly turned off the TV with only explaining that “the man was in trouble because he did something he shouldn’t have done.” That was good enough explanation for him.
Yes, we are on the same page. It is clear that you did the right thing as he was comfortable with your explanation.
Well done. I was thinking about this exact topic this morning. My kids don’t know about the Colorado tragedy and I have no plan to tell them. They are at camp this morning and I started to wonder if other kids would talk about it. If so, what I would say to my kids in response? I’d like to be prepared and I’m not going to purposely expose them to this event. Not sure if that’s a good parenting choice … but that’s what they’re getting from me today!
I agree with you. If they ask, you answer and give them as much or as little as they need. If the other kids expose them, well, you can’t control that.
I’m with you on this. Very well-expressed. Even for an adult, the news is one-sided with a strong inclination to cover all the negative events with little attention to the good ones happening all around us every day.
Bad news sells. In addition, this is overwhelming – so terrible.
I get it but I haven’t watched any news coverage of it. I’m waiting for the American people to actually make a difference practically rather than symbolically.
That would be beautiful and inspiring. I think people don’t know what to do.
Yes, its a difficult one. The sad thing is kids will hear about this from other kids. As parents we have to help them understand. And as we don’t understand why ourselves that makes it all the more difficult.
Yes, they may hear from other kids and it is important to help them understand/make sense of confusing situations (even when we are uncertain). Yet it is not neccessary to go beyond what they need.
I’ve had to stop listening to Christian radio because the news keeps coming on and they keep talking about homosexuality and abortion. I listen to my ipod now while I’m cooking. The Colorado shootings was a tragedy, we were in Aurora not too long ago.
I guess you can say there is disturbing news in all forms on all media outlets.
The question is though, how do you make children diligent without awaring them to the bad parts of the world. Why isnt it ok for them to walk away from mommy and daddy? Schools are going to have lock downs, what do you tell the children? I agree where you dint want them to learn from the media but they will hear things regardless. There is just so much you can do to shield them. Even taking them to Chcky Cheeses, they are going to wonder why they and their parents get stamped.
It’s a good question/point. We, as parents, have to try and understand/determine balancewhat a child needs and wants to know.
It’s a complicated world.
I agree with you 100%
Taking the developmental approach is how my husband and I tackled tough issues too. We have not discussed recent events with our five year old, but in great detail with the teen boys. As the be parent of teen boys, who have gone to several midnight film showings, it has been an emotional week.
It is totally different for you as the parent of two teens. I am sure it has been an emotional week. Anytime the what if questions come up, it is particularly hard.
I agree. I mean my kids are younger (5 and 2) but I couldn’t imagine having to tell them about it at this point. I can’t imagine my son, 5, understanding this as being real. Not being afraid of the world around him when he’s still really developing the notions of safety and danger. And he is so timid sometimes, I can’t imagine how he’d react. But what is the right age to really teach our children about these things? To let them know evil exists outside of the movies.
I don’t know what the right age is. I don’t think there is one right age. I also think that they will learn this sort of thing gradually and not go from ‘innocent’ to ‘wisened’ in a moment.
I disagree…..but then again with the concept of sheltering. A 5 year old won’t “get” it but an 8 year old can and should. Then again, my Israeli reality is different from the American reality. Innocence vs. reality – I vote reality. I have lived in both places and think we are far better equipped to deal with adversity.
My 8 year old will get it on some very basic level. However, I am certain it would scare the heck out of him. I don’t think that is a worthwhile trade off. An 8 year should not have to worry about dealing with adversity.
You have that perogative. Lucky you ….
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Thanks for blogging!
I appreciate the nomination and am very glad you enjoy my blog.
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