Saturday, December 15, 2012

What to tell my kids

After an event like what happened in Connecticut yesterday, the question for me is what to tell my kids. Do I sit them down and teach them that bad guys sometimes come into classrooms to kill little children, and that they should do this, this, and that to stay alive? Or do I preserve their innocence and say nothing?

When there was a fire at a mall in Doha, Qatar that killed 13 children in the mall's play area, I had a talk with my kids about fire safety, and how you have to get OUT. Not sit and wait for a teacher, not hide in a closet, but get out, opening a window and jumping from it if necessary. But a fire is a fire, not a person holding a gun.

How do I balance my fervent wish that my kids never know that there are people out there who want to hurt others, with the fact that there are people out there who want to hurt others?

11 comments:

Lindsay said...

I have been wondering the same thing ....

Tia said...

Here is what Abigail's school sent regarding talking to your kids about trauma.

http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/tta-system/health/Mental%20Health/Program%20Planning%2c%20Design%20%26%20Management/Staff%20Support/parent_fts_00135_013007.html

http://www.buffalonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20121214/CITYANDREGION/121219504/1002

Liz Johnson said...

I don't know. I don't want my kids to feel like school isn't a safe place, and I don't want them to have nightmares or live in fear of something that will probably never happen to them. But I want them to feel powerful and safe, and being prepared is part of that. So I have no idea.

Britney said...

Struggling to make a decision on this one, too.

Susanne said...

Surely they know about evil from church. It's part of Christianity with Jesus dying on the cross and all that. Maybe during a family devotion one night, you can tell them that there are evil people in the world and give them instructions on what to do if something happens. You can keep it vague enough so they think it's just mom giving them tips just in case, but it's very very very unlikely (which it is especially in the UAE). Speaking of which, you've heard of the ALICE approach? A former school resource officer was telling me about it on Facebook yesterday and shared this link.

http://www.npr.org/2012/10/11/162712905/to-survive-a-shooting-students-learn-to-fight-back

Good luck.

Suzanne Bubnash said...

I have decided, after Friday's incident, that kids should not be kept in the dark about danger. Part of my growing up was knowing that Russia was about to drop the bomb on us, and we knew exactly what to do (as futile as it might be), and we even practiced air raid drills in school.

Look at it like earthquake preparation. You don't know when or where it will happen, but you are always alert to your surroundings, and observant to the types of protections wherever you might be. Take that one step further to observing other people and how they act. Last week 2 people were killed in the Clackamas shooting here in PDX. A number of folks saw the guy walking in dressed in fatigues, wearing a hockey mask, and carrying something long. No one did a thing about it when there was still time. We're all the wiser now.

I take my Cub Scout den on an annual field trip to the local police department, which happened to be last Wednesday. One of the kids asked about calling the police when they weren't sure there was a good reason. Officer S. said you are never wasting police time if you have a concern or suspicion about something.

Alli E. said...

I watched a news broadcast about how to talk to your kids about it. A counselor said, "If the child is under 7, and they don't mention it, don't bring it up-they don't need to know." For kids between 8-12,"ask them about what they have heard and answer their questions. Also let them know that something like this is very rare, so they feel safe going to school." I think they said to talk to teens openly about it. I am not saying this is exactly the right thing to do, just what I heard on some news yesterday...

Angry Birds said...

Really Nice Post ..Thanks for sharing...

Alli E. said...

Our school counselor sent an email this morning saying that our Elementary is going to be doing something to help the families of Sandy Hook, so it would be best if our kids heard it first from us. So I did talk about it with my first grader, but didn't go into many details, so she would know what was going on...

Lark said...

I know this post was a few days ago, so what did you end up doing?
We talked to our school aged kids about it as if we were teaching a primary lesson. We said what happened and talked about the brave kids that made good choices by hiding and listening to their teacher etc. We talked about the good teachers and principals that saved the kids and we talked about listening to the Holy Ghost. They took it quite well and no nighmares so far...

Bridget said...

I wrote this on Miriam's blog on Sunday. She came in to work with me and I was worried she would hear about it in some insensitive or unexpected way that would frighten her. So I took her on my lap and told her that something bad happened in the US, and that some kids got hurt at a school. I made sure she knew it was far away from her grandparents and cousins and friends. I also told her that the principal and teachers ("like Miss Lynda and Mr. Dick" - the headmasters at her school) at the school protected the kids from the bad guy. She came up with the funny mental image of a bad guy trying to attack her school but all the kids would run up and grab him around the legs or hit him in the stomach and he would run away. She laughed and that was the end of it. I'm not going to bring it up again unless she mentions it or if it comes up with the neighbor kids.

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