The world today is a lot more intense than when I was in school. Bullying is at an all time high, and shootings are more common than ever and it breaks my heart. Makes me hold my children a bit tighter.
How can I teach my daughters to survive this crazy world? How do we talk to our kids through tragedies and to see the good in the world when it’s so hard for us to see it sometimes?
We tell them the truth.
When my 5 year old kindergarten daughter saw the flags at half mast, she asked me why. I told her that it was because a boy had taken a gun to his school and shot many of his classmates and some teachers, so we showed respect to the victims by lowering the flag. She looked at me sadly and said “Mom that poor boy needed friends didn’t he? I’m so sad that he did that. I would have been nice to him. Maybe he would have been okay if I had.” And she said this with such a solemn face, I knew she truly did believe that she could have changed that boy’s heart by being his friend.
We need to tell our children about the things that happen in this world but only according to what they can handle. Teens are more likely to want to have an entire conversation about the how, what, and why of things. Smaller children, however, are more likely to be scared if they knew too many details. We simplify the situation for them but we do not over simplify to where it seems like we’re dismissing the events as unimportant. When something bad happens in the world, our kids notice. They also ask “how” and “why” and some even ask “how can I help fix it?”
First, we tell them to LOVE and to trust their hearts to tell them how. To always show others compassion, fairness and love. Love makes the world go ’round and our children are the ones now in charge of the wheel. We need to teach them to LOVE.
Second, we tell them to always talk to us or someone they trust if they feel unsafe, unwanted or angry. We need to let them know they can come to us to share their feelings without them thinking we’ll easily dismiss them or not take them seriously.
Third, we as parents need to be there. I want my children to call me at 3 AM with worries, or to come into my room after they come home and tell me everything about their day. I want them to know we are always there for them at any time and any place.
Tell your kids the truth about the world and the tragedies that happen that they can handle. Help them to help others and maybe we can end the cycle of violence right here, right now in our homes.