Monday Musings - How Do You Talk To Your Children About Tragedy?

by Samantha on December 17, 2012

I frankly wasn’t sure that I wanted to put together a Monday Musings blog post today. In light of the events in Newtown, Connecticut,  it’s hard not to ponder on the appropriateness of even putting up a blog post at all, let alone one that may be viewed as gratuitous.

It’s safe to say that there’s a collective feeling of sadness and devastation that accompanies events such as the tragedy that unfolded at the Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14th, 2012. Words cannot express the grief that must be felt by those who lost loved ones, or who were close to the situation when it occurred.

Many have looked at this event as the jumping off point for a larger discussion about guns, gun control, mental health, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Aspergers Syndrome and other topics that may be related to the occurrence. For the purposes of this blog, and as the parent of young children, I’d like to keep the discussion on one thing: our children. After all, they’re the reason why what happened in Connecticut is so heart-wrenching. No parent should ever have to go through what the parents of the victims of this tragedy are experiencing. Ever.

As much as we’d like to shield our children from all that’s evil in this world, it’s not possible. They’re going to hear about the horrors that occur in the world one way or another. Whether it’s through their friends at school or on TV or online, they’ll be exposed, despite our wishes to the contrary.

Which leaves us parents in a very precarious position: when tragedies such as the one that occurred in Connecticut occur, what do we say to our kids? Do we say anything at all, or just hope that they’ll not hear about it and it will go away? Do we sugar coat it and make it less horrifying than it really is or are we brutally honest with our children, choosing to share the truth with them, hoping that it will somehow make the reality of it less real?

Like many parents, I don’t have the answers and question what the right thing to do in a situation like this would be. Let’s hope that opening up a dialogue will help us to help our children the best way that we can.

VIDEO: How do you talk to your children about tragedy in the news?

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