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Ana Roca Castro

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Ana Roca Castro is a social entrepreneur and the founder of Latinos in Social Media #Latism, the largest organization of Latino professionals engaged in social media. She is also the publisher of Plaza Familia, a national multiplatform/bilingual magazine for Latino parents. The Plaza is also the home of KidsFunPlaza, a platform that offers fun, educational games and teaching tools for parents and teachers who seek culturally relevant content. Ana’s most important role is to be a mom to three energetic and creative boys and a 2-year-old geek princess. Ana’s priority will always be to raise happy kids who see the beauty in diversity and understand the need to change the world — one cause at a time.

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3 reasons why I told my kids about the Colorado tragedy and 3 tips on how you can do the same

By Ana Roca Castro |

I am obsessed with being the first to tell my kids about any important events in life.  Tragedies, like this week’s horrific massacre in Aurora, Colorado, are the kinds of important topics to which I’m referring, and I feel strongly that my kids must hear about them from me.  Similar to Kelly Wickham, I need to discuss it with my kids because they are out there.  Here are my main three reasons why I decided to tell them:

1)  I must be the first one to tell my kids.  Inevitably someone else will break the news, and I hate the idea of not equipping them with the right tools to deal with it.  I don’t want them to be asking  their questions of the wrong person. Wrong answers could increase their fears, instill a wrong prejudice, or have some other harmful impact.

2)  Discussing tragic events offers a good opportunity to talk about our family values.  We always pray together for all those who have suffered in the tragedy.  We even include the offenders and their families in our prayers.  Prayer gives my kids a deeper sense of compassion and provides them a way to calm some of their fears and avoid feeling helpless.  We may be able, if even in a small way, to change the world.  Every time something tragic happens, we talk about the big “whys” and how things like this could be prevented in their future.  We have talked about alcoholism, drug addiction, gun laws, anger management, and other such big topics.  The kids, in turn, proclaimed their intentions to change the laws, find cures for diseases, invent weapon detectors, etc. when they grow up.  It gives me a great sense of hope when I hear them elaborate their solutions.

3)  We will be able, if even in a small way, to change the world. Every time something tragic happens, we talk about the big “whys” and how things like this could be prevented in their future.  We have talked about alcoholism, drug addiction, gun laws, anger management, and other such big topics. The kids, in turn, proclaimed their intentions to change the laws, find cures for diseases, invent weapon detectors, etc. when they grow up.  It gives me a great sense of hope when I hear them elaborate their solutions

Often we think that shielding our kids from these realities is the right thing to do. Ana Flores for example wants to keep her child’s memories as joyful as possible.  Kristen Howerton also chooses to protect her kids from the news. Reading Ellen’s post on how she wished she could share her story with Max gave me a sense of gratitude because I can share the story with all my kids. Ellen made me realize that it was actually a gift to have that choice. I’ve also heard many moms talk about their fears an uncertainties to touch these types of topics because they don’t know how the kids will react. I’ve also heard many people talk about their fears about broaching these topics because they don’t know how the kids will react. Here is my three cents worth on how you can do it:

1)  Let your kids drive the conversation. There’s no need to volunteer more than what they are willing to hear. Answer all their questions and let them feel comfortable that they can ask you anything that comes to their minds. Even silly things. My kids are very inquisitive. They wanted to know details about the Aurora offender, the place, the victims, etc.

2)  Let them offer solutions. If you have boys, you’ll be amazed at how they bring their inner super heroes to life.  My boys fantasized how they would have grabbed the gunman and saved the crowd. That’s the core of every fairly tale where good overpowers evil, and it’s more active in a child’s mind. So it’s OK to let them tell you how they could literally avoid such a tragedy if it ever happens to them.

3)  Accept all the emotions. My boys went through all kinds of emotions to cope with the news from Colorado. At first, they were curious and wanted to hear all the details. Then they were angry and almost wanted to hear the worst about the offender, even hoping that he wasn’t human.  Once they realized that he was human, they were filled with courage and they spelled out the moves they’d have made to grab the guy’s gun or even become invisible. Then they became sad when we prayed for the victims and their families. They were also grateful that it didn’t happen in our town, and hopeful because they have a clear plan to prevent this from happening when they grow up.

I strongly encourage you to share the Aurora tragedy with your kids if you have any idea that he/she will be exposed to the news from T.V. or in school, summer camp, their neighbors, or even from extended family members.  Don’t be naive to think that you live in a bubble. If you have an only child who doesn’t go to school or doesn’t go out to play with friends, then you’re good to go.  But if you are like me, get there first.  My kids are in all kinds of summer activities, and they spend entire afternoons playing outside with a bunch of kids. I’m sure they’ll be exposed to this sad tragedy by others, and now they’ll be the experts in the topic.  They’ll answer questions, write about it, argue about gun control laws, and so forth. My way of protecting my kids is by equipping them with the information they need to handle this sad situation. And yes, the praying will go on.

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About Ana Roca Castro

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Ana Roca Castro

Ana Roca Castro is a social entrepreneur and the founder of Latinos in Social Media #Latism, the largest organization of Latino professionals engaged in social media. She is also the publisher of Plaza Familia, a national bilingual magazine for Latino parents. Ana’s priority is raising happy kids who see the beauty in diversity and understand the need to change the world. Read bio and latest posts → Read Ana's latest posts →

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6 thoughts on “3 reasons why I told my kids about the Colorado tragedy and 3 tips on how you can do the same

  1. Maria Garcias says:

    I totally agree. But I was one of those afraid about the kid’s reaction. Thank you for sharing these tips. Just what I was looking for!

  2. Jessica says:

    Great post, Ana. I feel the same way about always wanting to be the first to tell my kids about things so that they can ask me their questions. Very touching to hear about your children’s superhero fantasies and their compassion for the families of the victims. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Marcus says:

    Great article Ana. It’s only normal for a mother to want to be the one to tell their kids bad news and shape them to be good people, after all if you are the one to break the news to them, you can reinforce that doing something like that is a terrible thing to do and that it’s the wrong sort of behavior to do.

    I think discussing topics such as alcohol and drugs with your kids is a fantastic way to keep them on the right path so they don’t end up doing something stupid or getting hurt. I am a firm believer in having open communication between parents and children.

    I’m still being lectured to be safe whenever I go out! Must just be a maternal instinct!

  4. Donnie says:

    I totally agree with this article. If you want to instill your values/morals/ideals with your children, they should be hearing them from you first. It’s important to sit down and have these conversations your children because they will be better off in the long-run. Family values are so important now more than ever when the world is in such chaos.

  5. return man 2 says:

    What a perfect post.
    I also told my kids about it after reading this post.

  6. Jasmin says:

    Lisa Davis – Andi you consistently ctnionue to amaze me! LOVE the ones on the logs. And the one with the tower looming so large behind them. Another stunning session with a beautiful couple! Congrats to them! ~Lisa

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