Boston – do you tell your kids?

As a parent coach my opinion on how you should raise your children rarely matters.  My goal as a coach is to guide you to what matters most to you when it comes to raising your children.  I want you to come to your own conclusions and have your own values and do what is best for you as a family.  I will ask you difficult questions that will broaden your thoughts and I will supply you with relevant information on child development in all capacities.  However the parent coaching process is a journey in which together we will uncover some things you may not have noticed and one in which you will develop your own plan for how you want to raise your kids.  So it is with that said that you will rarely see me state my own opinion.  However, today I feel compelled to do it.  I can no longer sit back and read the tweets and the facebook blogs on whether or not we should tell our children about world issues and how they/we should cope and what language we should use to tell them etc etc.  So here is my 2 cents…

We don’t tell them.  We shouldn’t let them see the news.  These are adult problems in an adult world and these stories are being told by Media whose job it is to capture our attention as much as possible.  Tragic events such as what is happening in Boston do not make sense.  The people who did that are sick/mentally ill and we can’t even understand why someone would do that, so how on earth do we expect our children to?  Why should we send our children off to school with that kind of worry and fear?  They have the rest of their lives to hear this kind of news.  Their brains are not fully developed and we are asking them to process devastation when they are not ready and not capable.  As parents the media presents issues that make us worry about our children day in and day out.  So the answer is not to make them worry.  The same goes for major natural disasters.  These do not make sense either.  We don’t know why they happen.  Our children cannot understand or even begin to process it.  People die, children get separated from their parents and it is scary.  I know we focus on relief efforts and raising money to help and that is amazing, yet the bottom line remains that they are still scared and afraid. They most likely go to bed not thinking about the money raised to help but the possibility of it happening to them.

You may be wondering what to say if they do hear it at school and you haven’t told them.  Well then you obviously need to talk about it.  Let them lead the conversation and ask the questions and then let them know that they can always come and talk to you.  Remind them that they are safe that you will continue to keep them safe.  The truth is that we don’t know for sure that nothing will happen to them.  We just do our best to ensure it and they don’t need to know the rest.

So your next question may be what age do I think is appropriate to start telling your kids about these kinds of tragedy?  My very honest answer is to shield them from it as long as you can.  They should have a childhood free of fear and worry.  Children already have to process emotions that can sometimes feel unmanageable.  Emotions for children feel big because they haven’t had a lot of experience having them.  Do not add senseless tragedy to their plate.  Let them have a childhood – they only get one.

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.

Lao Tzu