I am always torn about how much to try to protect my children from the evil, madness and tragedy that exists in the world. Yet I also don’t want to shelter them so much that they won’t have the tools to handle life’s tragedies when they do eventually have to face one head on. When is the right time to bring horrific events up? And how do we level with them in a way that they can digest? Can we tell them the truth but not fill them with fear about the unknown unimaginables that could actually happen, and do sometimes happen? The senseless movie theatre shooting in Colorado is one such moment that has made me wonder.
My kids have not heard about the shooting. They are enjoying a blissful summer of sunshine and bike riding and days at the beach. I have not volunteered the information. Yet, I noticed, at a local church last Sunday, the minister brought up the event up at the children’s service. (I was there, but my kids were not, instead they were eating pancakes with cousins.) I saw many mothers’ cringe that the minister spoke about the tragedy in front of so many kids. Yet, in a way church is a good place to try to address such horrors. But, secretly I was happy that my kids weren’t there, pleased that that they could be ignorant and innocent a little longer.
Betsy Brown Braun, my favorite parenting expert, has a great article here on what to say should your kids bring up the shootings in Colorado. She has also written several great parenting books, filled with practical advice which are incredibly insightful specifically in terms of what age appropriate language to use when talking to your children during difficult times. Here’s an excerpt from her article and a link to her piece in The Huffington Post.
“The horrific tragedy in Colorado has left us all speechless, shaking our heads in disbelief. How could this have happened? Could anything really have been done to stop this mad man? And what can we possibly tell our children…if they ask?”