Talking to your kids about the Boston Bombings

Condolences to Boston

BostonsupportFirst of all, let me convey my condolences to the victims of the Boston attacks and their families.  Marathoners specifically, and runners in general, are a hardly lot – they are strong and will surely get through this. Similarly, Bostonians are a particularly rugged bunch. . . they too will recover with a giant shrugging of their shoulders as they bear this burden and carry on.

Explaining Terror Attacks to Children

Well, we’ve gotten really good at this.  Figuring out how to convey the important information to our children so that they are aware of current events and how they may be impacted without making them fearful of school and/or going to public events.  We talked about this when Sandy Hook happened. And during the shootings in Aurora.  The techniques were used on us during Oklahoma City, and we may even have heard them during 9/11.

Here are some of the best articles, summaries, and quotes about explaining tragedy and terror to your kids.

There’s the religious approach for those that like to include God in their explanations.

The visual approach for those that prefer images and charts.

The lying approach for parents that want to believe that they can make everything safe and okay.

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, Look for the helpers.  You will always find people who are helping.” – Fred Rogers.

Look for the helpers
1.  I’ve found that minimizing tv time is helpful.  Depending on the age, young children barely get the difference between “real” and “make believe”, “live” and “recorded”.  Television merely creates more questions and confusion as they try to figure out whether or not the blood is real, if the people are actors, and if it happened today or ten years past.

2.  Tell the truth.  I never advocate lying to children.  You are a grown up.  .. learn to turn a phrase a bit so that you aren’t lying but aren’t giving them so much information that they can’t feel safe.  “A sick and/or troubled person made a terrible decision and hurt some people” can be just as effective as words that demonize, that terrorize, and that inflict a constant fear in your child for going to school, out on the street, or to the movies (depending on the event/location).

3. Talk about the good.  As Fred Rogers said, “look for the helpers”.  Do what you can.  Give blood.  Or supplies.  Or just a listening ear to those that need to talk.  Check on your family and friends.  Go for a run.  Be grateful. Thankful.  Live.