My son has a 1st grade teacher who periodically talks about current events and local news stories in class. I have a real problem with this.
I don’t have to tell you that the evening news is depressing with daily tallies of murders, unemployment woes and political unrest. So…why would sharing this information with a classroom of 6 year olds seem like a good idea again?
The day my son informed me that his teacher told the class about a man who accidentally struck and killed two children while texting and driving, I had to ask myself what his teacher was trying to accomplish. Was she trying to parlay some lesson on the dangers of texting and driving? Was she offering a warning of sorts for these small children when crossing the street? Both? Neither? I had no idea, all I knew was this tragic news story was incredibly distressing to my already anxious son.
His teacher isn’t exclusively talking to students who will listen to a story like that and then go on their merry way. For kids like my son, they’ll worry that something equally terrible will happen to them, feel tremendous empathy for the victims involved, and attempt to make sense of the senseless.
Perhaps you think children ought to know what’s going on in the world as told in in child-friendly, age-appropriate doses. As a realist I’m inclined to agree with you, that is until I ask myself whether my 6-year-old really needs to know about the rapist on the loose or the child brought a gun to school that day.
Last year I wrote about my decision not to discuss Sandy Hook with my kids and now, nearly a year later, I’m still no closer to believing that my youngest needs to know about most of what’s going on in this scary world.
No news is good news 1 of 7
I believe that every child needs to be introduced into the real world at some point, but as early as 1st grade? I don't think so. Take a look at 6 reasons why I'm sheltering my son from the news.
He’s not ready 2 of 7
My son is only 6 years old. Developmentally, he doesn't possess the emotional maturity or cognitive ability to understand senseless violence. As he grows and matures, I'll spoon feed doses of reality as I see fit, carefully selecting what real-world information he'll consume and in what amounts.
He doesn’t have a need to know 3 of 7
Unless my son has a certifiable reason to know about a child molester on the loose (say, as a precaution within our town), I prefer to teach my child about safety in general terms, without using tragic news stories as an opportunity to promote scare tactics.
He has enough to worry about 4 of 7
My child has enough to worry about without being bogged down with news of serial killers, the latest incident of school violence, or unrest in the Middle East. At 6 years old, my son should be worrying about eating his lunch, listening in the classroom, and knowing his spelling words.
He deserves to be a child 5 of 7
They say ignorance is bliss, and at the tender age of 6, my son deserves the opportunity to focus on the things that really matter to kids. Our children will develop a healthy sense of reality in due time which is why I'm choosing to preserve my child's innocence for as long as I am able.
It serves no purpose 6 of 7
What is my son supposed to do with all this scary real-world information? Is he supposed to make sense of it? Is it supposed to prepare him? Protect him? All it will do is worry him, leaving him feeling powerless and riddled with fear. No thank you. The protection we provide and confidence we instill are the only tools we can give our children to meet these realities with the strength and character required to make a positive difference.
He’s happy 7 of 7
My son is happy, as he and every child deserves to be. Let's give our kids the love and security they need to grow up with the ability to face the ugliness they will inevitability encounter in due time - and not a moment before.