Wednesday

Why I Talk to My Kids About the Hard Stuff



For Christmas 2008, Hubby thought it would be a good idea to buy two mini swimming frogs for Joey and Slim. I don't even remember their names (maybe Hopper was one), but they lived in a tiny tank in the middle of our kitchen table for two years.

In an act of complete cruel irony, the smaller one that "belonged" to Joey (I'm thinking that was Hopper), died just four days before Joey did. It had been looking sick and not growing well; so just like Joey's, we knew it's death was inevitable.

It was the perfect opportunity to practice talking to our sons about death. Hubby had been to a therapist and learned about tools for talking to children (like this excellent book, The Fall of Freddie the Leaf ), while I was the person who couldn't even talk to my small children about a squished squirrel in the street, much less their brother dying.

A year before Joey's fatal diagnosis, when he, his baby brother, and I were at a mall during a tragic mass shooting, I still couldn't talk to my children about what had happened to us.

I believed that by NOT talking to my children about the hard stuff of life I would be protecting them from it. 

What a fool I was.

In the days leading to this fourth anniversary of the tragic Sandy Hook school shooting, I've had conversations with my sons (ages 12, 11, 9, and 5) about public shootings - malls, churches, movie theaters, and schools. We talked about them being an occurrence in the world in which we live. We talked about how, though they happen, they are rare. We talked about knowing where exits are, knowing when to hide and when to run. We talked about bullying and how many people who carry out these attacks have felt bullied in their lives. We talked until their eyes glazed over and my twelve-year-old ASD child began to feel uncomfortable at the reality of it all.

It was hard, but I owe it to them. I owe it to them because I know firsthand that bad things can and do happen in life, and that we have to be prepared.

Please read my latest post on Her View From Home in which I give some tips and links for talking to our children about these tough topics. We can always pray we never need them; but if we don't give them, it may be too late one day.

Read the post here and join the discussion on Facebook.

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