Once more, reality proves how wrong our assumptions can be.
My heart is breaking. Every child, every adult, every victim of the senseless shooting in Newtown, Connecticut has a name. Has a family. Has friends. They aren’t numbers. I send my thoughts and prayers to the families in Newtown. How I wish they weren’t living through this nightmare. As a mom, I am grieving for all the families affected by this tragedy.
I feel powerless. Again. Every single time I am confronted with violence, I realize I cannot find any sense, rhyme or reason to it.
When I was growing up, I always felt safe at school. The biggest fear I had was of bullies but all in all, I never feared for my life. Tonight I will have to explain to my children the unimaginable. Because even if I do not allow them to watch the news, it’s only a matter of time before they ask questions.
This is not a tragedy that goes unnoticed and my children aren’t babies anymore. They are tweens. Too old to be kept unaware of what is going in the world, but too young to grasp or understand. Especially when even adults can’t wrap their heads around a tragedy like this.
How to discuss tough issues and news with children
When talking about the tragedy in Newtown with my own kids, I will try to keep in mind these tips that Dr. Helena Duch, Psy.D and Assistant Professor at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, shared with me a while back when I worked at Todobebé. According to Dr. Duch, when discussing complicated issues with your children:
· Don’t ignore your child’s questions
· Be consistent with your answers and discuss with your partner how you will field your kid’s questions
· Ask what your child knows already, especially if he or she initiates the conversation
· Be patient
· Be aware that it is normal for the child to keep bringing up a specific topic because it might take time for him or her to process the information.
May we all find the strength to teach our children that despite the violence and the tragedies, there is more light than darkness, more good than bad and that life is worth living. How? By showing them once more how much we love them. Every single day.
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