Another mass shooting. Why? I can’t make sense of it and it is absolutely heartbreaking. Trying to navigate life as an adult is hard, throw in situations like this and it is even more difficult.
Parenting through something like this can seem impossible. How do I keep my kids safe? How do I even explain this to them?
I don’t necessarily think there is a right or wrong answer to these questions. There certainly isn’t a one size fits all answer. You have to truly know your child’s personality and what they can handle. I have four boys and how I talk about any sort of issue like this varies from child to child.
First, what I will not do:
My husband and I, nor the kids, will not watch the news on TV. It is something that simply is never turned on, and for a good reason. I don’t want to listen to the negativity of it and I try shield my children from it, too. Seems like the “happy” stories are way too far and in between. If and when my kids hear about this shooting it will come from me or school/friends, or in my oldest sons case social media. You can’t put much past a 14 year old.
I will not tell my younger ones right out the bat. My 8 year old is my more anxious child so I won’t come right out and tell him about the this shooting. I will ask questions about his day and fish for information. If he heard about it then I will cater my explanations to him. He worries much more than his older brothers. He would be worried about going places and I want to shield him from that worry. His older brothers can put it in perspective a little easier, partly due to age/maturity but also due to personality. Our youngest is too young to know or understand.
What I will do:
I will give them the basic information. But just to my kids who are old enough to understand the event.
I will remind them that the world is full of amazing people everywhere, but there are always the few bad ones.
I will talk about what to do if they ever find themselves in a situation involving a person with a gun. The reality that my sons could be somewhere without me during an event like this is a gut punch. I cannot imagine. I can’t imagine being there WITH my kids, but I really can’t imagine them being there WITHOUT me. My older two boys are now venturing out with friends and the worry is there. Every day.
I will share the stories of people lining up in crazy long lines to donate blood, the fundraisers that are to help the victims families, the responders that helps afterwards, etc.
I will stress the importance of being a good person to everyone when I talk to my boys today. Rallying together during hard times is what we do. Help each other.
Spending time talking about positive things can do wonders for changing the mood and bringing the level of fear down. Tragedy brings people together and unites them!
As a mother your number one goal is to protect your children. It is a hard to figure out the balance of giving them as much information as they each need but protecting them from the harsh realities of what can happen. I don’t want to scare them when discussing things like this. I just want to make them aware and give them good information on what to do if they ever have to experience a situation like a mass shooting. I always try and balance out stories like the Vegas shooting with good stories I hear too. It is so easy to get caught in the negative cycle, fear spreads like wildfire.
It is terrible that we have to explain stuff like mass shootings to our kids. Days like today are extra tough. I know there will be plenty of extra tight hugs going on in my house tonight.
Raise them to be kind and love one another and hope that we can raise a generation that won’t have these days!