It seems like there's always something happening in the world that we'd prefer our children knew nothing about. Right now, for me, it happens to be Osama Bin Laden's assassination.
Talking about this event opens a whole can of proverbial worms, because you have to speak of ugly truths like terrorism, hate, religious extremism, war, killing and September 11. Depending on the age of a child, this can be a daunting task. If your child is too young to know about the World Trade Center disaster, it can certainly be hard to explain. There's a balance between stating the facts, which might be frightening, and it's hard to know how much information is too much.
And yet, it's almost impossible to keep them completely in the dark. Even if you somehow manage to keep them away from the television, where they could catch a glimpse even when you aren't tuned into the news, there are computer home pages shouting headlines, adult conversations to overhear, and school friends chattering away whether they know the facts or not. Your older child might have questions, while younger children could have nightmares or fears that somehow a terrorist could attack their own town or home. Children can feel sadness, guilt, or even start thinking philosophically — how does the U.S. know bin Laden did these things? Even if he did them, is it right to kill him? What about treating others the way you want to be treated? Isn't murder wrong, no matter what?
So how is your family dealing with the news? How did you decide whether or not to talk to your kids about it? And if you did, what was their reaction? Did you keep it simple, or rehash events since 2001? Were there resources you found helpful, and what were they? One link we found helpful was from BrainPOP, an animated video geared for kids about September 11 and Bin Laden's assassination.
Please share your thoughts with us!