School shooting in CT - are you talking to your kids about it?

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from BDCKristi. Show BDCKristi's posts

    School shooting in CT - are you talking to your kids about it?

    This is such a sad time. What a senseless tragedy. I can't stop hugging my kids. My heart is heavy. Those poor innocent babies. We have been careful not to put the TV coverage on so we don't scare the kids. They are only 3 and 6. My son is in kindergarten and has not mentioned a word. He seems unaware. I am wondering if I should bring it up in any way. I was talking to my mom about it this morning and she said what if his friends are talking about it in school on Monday? So I am wondering, are you bringing it up if they are not?

     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from GoneToTheDogs39. Show GoneToTheDogs39's posts

    Re: School shooting in CT - are you talking to your kids about it?

    Motherlode - Adventures in Parenting December 15, 2012, 6:17 pm

    How Not to Talk With Children About the Sandy Hook Shooting By KJ DELL'ANTONIA

    "First, find out what they have heard." That's the first line of Benedict Carey's article on how to talk to your children about the mass shooting that took place Friday at an elementary school in Connecticut. I received a similar e-mail from my own children's school, encouraging parents consider our individual children and their needs as we try to find words. How to talk to our kids is paramount, but I found myself focused on a different side of the question: how not to.

    Part of me wants to talk to my children. I want to tell them what happened, and then drill them wildly on how to protect themselves. I want to promise them that it could never happen here, and at the same time reassure myself.

    "First, find out what they have heard" is advice that puts the focus where it needs to be: on the child, not on the parent. Many of us think our children will be thinking and worrying about what happened in Newtown because we can't avoid thinking about it ourselves. But what if the answer is that they know very little? What if the child in front of you doesn't appear worried at all? Do we have to "talk to our children" about every tragedy? As awash in information as adults are, many children, especially younger ones, simply aren't in that position. It may be difficult, but also unnecessary, to protect them from hearing about a news event at all. And a child whose television comes from Disney and whose primary use of a mobile device involves throwing birds at pigs may not be inundated with information in the ways we fear.

    "Most kids are pretty self-centered," Nancy Rappaport, associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and director of school-based programs for the Cambridge Health Alliance, said. "Some may be more vulnerable to these kinds of fears, but many may just say, 'Oh, that's too bad,' and move on." This is a reaction that's hard to understand for an adult, but fine, Dr. Rappaport said, for children whose focus is still naturally on themselves.

    So as a parent, you're left with the question not just of how to talk to your child about tragedy, but of whether you're talking to your child for your child - or for yourself. There's the question of what to say, but also when, and if, you should say it. "If you're feeling panicked, and like there's no place safe in the world, then that's a good time to step back and get those thoughts in order," Dr. Rappaport suggested. "But if we try to wait until we've fully come to terms with something like this, then we'll never be able to talk. In fact, we'd never be able to get out of bed in the morning."

    She brought up a strategy that's commonly used for anxiety in children: "worried thought, brave thought." "We teach kids to counter a worried thought with a brave thought," she said, and to "know that although the worried thought may come back, the brave thoughts are always there as well." A worried thought might be "A shooter will come to my children's school and there is nothing I can do about it," with the brave counter "School shootings are still rare, and countless people are working to make them rarer still."

    If you're going to talk to your children, start with a brave thought, she said. If the worried thoughts return while you're talking, acknowledge them - out loud, with your child. It's all right to show that you, too, worry. But then bring a brave thought back again. If you sense anxiety in your child, you could even share the same strategy. And remember that you don't have to get it right in one single talk. In fact, perhaps the most important thing to remember is that "talking to" your children isn't the goal. It's talking with your children that will matter in the long run.

    More immediately, though, I keep coming back to the question of whether this a conversation that you have to have at all. Do you have to tell a small child what's happened, on the theory that her equally small classmates may be chattering about it on Monday, or might you just be creating an anxiety that never existed to begin with - making yours the child who begins the chattering? I don't know. My own children had a half day on Friday, and came home just as this news began to appear. Judicious management of the car radio and any newspapers means it really was up to me to decide whether and what to tell them before Monday. (They're 11, 8, 7 and 6, only watch children's networks on television and are completely uninterested in social media.)

    Ultimately, I told them, fairly simply. We did talk about what you'd do, a little bit, if you wanted to get away from "someone bad." And then we left it. (I had a slightly more nuanced discussion with my oldest later, but because he seemed truly unconcerned, I let it go for now.) I suspect they won't be thinking about it at all when they go to school on Monday morning, and I hope that if their classmates bring it up, my kids will know enough to manage any fears.

    But I'll be thinking about it, and so, if you're a parent, will you. I don't know how sending all of our children back to school this week can be done without those "worried thoughts" rushing in hard and fast. If one of my children asks, I'll admit it. I'll try to find a "brave thought" to back it up. And if (when) words fail me, I'll remember that a hug sometimes says the only reassuring thing there is to say.

     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from RogerTaylor. Show RogerTaylor's posts

    Re: School shooting in CT - are you talking to your kids about it?

    I spoke with my kids - 13 & 15...they need to know the realities of life, that there are sick people in this world, that there is no rhyme or reason to this kind of horror and that they need to be aware of their surroundings....There isn't a day that goes by that I don't tell my children "I love you" and they in turn tell me. I'm sure all the parents of the slain children will hold that last "I love you" in their memories forever...

     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: School shooting in CT - are you talking to your kids about it?

    I don't have kids, but agree they need to know age appropriate details.  Tragedies occur even in our kids' lives.  I was in 7th grade when a classmate was murdered by her mother's boyfriend.  I was in 10th when a classmate (son of the English teacher we were in the class of when the news came) who shot himself in the head.  Completely sheltering a child from evil is not only futile, it leaves them woefully unprepared.  Not that any of us can truly BE prepared for such atrocities, but you know what I mean.

     
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    Re: School shooting in CT - are you talking to your kids about it?

    At my kids preschool they said, "The less the better." My kids don't know about it. They are 3 and too young to process it anyway. The teachers have been told to simply say "I heard about that too" if a child brings it up and to assure them that they are safe.

    We don't watch the news when our kids are awake or discuss bad things around them. Time for that when they are a little older.

    So sad - I want to weep for those poor, poor souls.

     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: School shooting in CT - are you talking to your kids about it?

    Yes, age appropriate details for a three year old is no details at all.

     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from BDCKristi. Show BDCKristi's posts

    Re: School shooting in CT - are you talking to your kids about it?

    Thanks for that post, Robin. I have decided not to talk about it with my 6 year old -- yet. I will absolutely talk about it if he wants to. And I may still decide to bring it up. I just haven't yet. And I'm wondering today if he's hearing anything at school. It's such a hard line to walk. I don't want to plant scary ideas in his head if they aren't there. Yet I want him to be informed and feel safe.

    Here is today's post from Barbara Meltz on how to talk to your kids:

    http://www.boston.com/community/moms/blogs/child_caring/2012/12/nitty-gritty_of.html

     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from tbracer39. Show tbracer39's posts

    Re: School shooting in CT - are you talking to your kids about it?

    Does you son's school do lockdown drills? Our school does, so I didn't go in to detail of what happeded, just emphasized how important it is that they follow the teacher's direction even during practice.

    When there was a possible kidnapper in our area a few weeks ago, I prefaced the recap talk of stranger danger with "I"m not tellin you this to scare you, but it's something you need to know to be safe just in case."

    Also, if they come back saying "I know Karate" or "I'll punch the bad guy." etc. again emphasize "no" on that and that they need to get away and find a "good" person.

     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: School shooting in CT - are you talking to your kids about it?

    Micro, he will hear about it at school and might hope you bring it up so he can vent his fears and feelings.  If you don't bring it up, he might assume you don't know and wouldn't want to inform you.  Asking what he knows and if he wants to talk to you because he can always talk to you about anything is not going to take away his innocence or fill his head with fear.

     
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    Re: School shooting in CT - are you talking to your kids about it?

    Sorry, got threads mixed up - meant to address that to the OP.

     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from Winter2011Bride. Show Winter2011Bride's posts

    Re: School shooting in CT - are you talking to your kids about it?

    At my son's school today the pricinple was going to address each classroom separtely and for the  correct age group. My son is in the 6th grade and I felt that I needed to discuss with him what happaned on Friday. He has friends whose parents don't allow any news to be watched, for a 6th grader I think this is a mistake; 11 and 12 year olders need to know what is going on to a certain degree. His school does have lock down procedures.

     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from GoneToTheDogs39. Show GoneToTheDogs39's posts

    Re: School shooting in CT - are you talking to your kids about it?

    I was in elementary school when one of the Kennedys was assassinated, noone had to tell us anything, we all knew something very bad had happened.  The adults were crying, everything seemed dark and we all went home early.  As kids we talked to each other and filled in the blanks.

    I don't remember having any questions, I saw what happened on the evening news (not all day long)  I got it.

     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from Winter2011Bride. Show Winter2011Bride's posts

    Re: School shooting in CT - are you talking to your kids about it?

    Robin, the problem is many parents shelter their kids from the news. At my son's school, they wrote that they don't want the kids talking among themselves about this. I was in grade shcool when Regan was shot and I remember hearing about it on the news. 

     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: School shooting in CT - are you talking to your kids about it?

    The problem is that kids DO, like you said, fill in the blanks, but many times with the absolute wrong ideas.

     
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    Re: School shooting in CT - are you talking to your kids about it?

    Response to: "Robin, the problem is many parents shelter their kids from the news" (Quote)

    That's too bad,  because how will they develop any street smarts.

    Watching the evening news after dinner was a ritual, if I had any questions that was always a good time to ask.

     

     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: School shooting in CT - are you talking to your kids about it?

    Letting a kid just figure out what they think happened without the benefit of a parent to talk to teaches them to avoid talking to mom and dad about scary things.  Great idea.

     
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    Re: School shooting in CT - are you talking to your kids about it?

    How do you think kids find out there is no Santa?   They talk to each other LOL,  if they don't like what they hear and they have a good relationship with their parents they come home and ask questions.

     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: School shooting in CT - are you talking to your kids about it?

    Kids need to trust that mom and dad are safe people to talk scary things over with and should be the first people they turn to with their fears.

     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: School shooting in CT - are you talking to your kids about it?

    If you'd want a child to go to OTHER KIDS to share their deepest, darkest fears about murder I guess we just have to agree to disagree about this.

     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from GoneToTheDogs39. Show GoneToTheDogs39's posts

    Re: School shooting in CT - are you talking to your kids about it?

     They need to learn who they can trust as friends and confide in (besides their parents)  this starts early. 

    Remember as a kid when you told a classmate a secret and the next day it was all over the school!  We learn from these experiences.

    Anyway it's just my opinion based on my memories of being a kid,  I realize things are a lot different nowadays.

     

     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from Winter2011Bride. Show Winter2011Bride's posts

    Re: School shooting in CT - are you talking to your kids about it?

    Kar nobody wants them to do that, but that is what kids do, they talk to each other about stuff. That's why I think it's better for parents to have the discussen first with them. 

     
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  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: School shooting in CT - are you talking to your kids about it?

     

    She apparently believes the bus is the best place to learn about such things, and while I understand that kids talk I don't for a second believe that should be plenty.

     
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    Re: School shooting in CT - are you talking to your kids about it?

    In response to BDCKristi's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    Thanks for that post, Robin.

    [/QUOTE]


    You're welcome,  I think this is the article you were referring to:  http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2012/12/14/connecticut-school-shooting-what-to-tell-your-kids/

    I changed it to the NYT one,  but sometimes "less is more"

     

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