Explaining Tragic Events

Liz Fogle

Pearl Harbor, JFK’s assassination, the Challenger disaster, Columbine, the Oklahoma City Bombing, 9/11, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, and now the Boston Marathon bombing. Unfortunately, these are all events that have impacted our nation across generational boundaries. For my grandparents generation, they remember where they where when they heard about Pearl Harbor. For my parents, they remember where they were when they heard about JFK’s assassination. For my generation, I distinctly remember where I was when I heard about 9/11. I was 17 at the time and still had a difficult time processing the day’s events.

I was at my daughter school, when I heard about the bombings in Boston. My first response was shock and disbelief. My heart ached for the victims and their families. It was so hard to watch people scrambling to get to the injured and then extent of the injuries. I couldn’t get over the graphic nature of some of the video and pictures! I worked in news for several years, but it still didn’t make seeing the images any easier!

The coverage of the bombings and manhunt for the suspects has been plastered all over the networks for the last several days. The problem I now face is protecting Bug (my daughter) from these images. At 5 years-old, Bug is not old enough to comprehend the tragic events. I know I am not the only parent facing this right now. Bug turned on the television the other day and I had to quickly change the channel to prevent her from seeing the graphic images.

While I desire to follow the coverage and be informed, most of my information has to come from the internet or after Bug goes to bed. We don’t want her seeing any of the coverage because she won’t understand it fully at 5. At school today, some of the other moms and me talked about the bombing and how they were explaining it to their older children. One mother expressed how difficult it was to explain “why” someone would do this horrible act. I dread the day I cannot protect Bug from the flow of information, but have to figure out how to explain the evil in our world.

I know there are many moms across the nation trying to decide what/how to tell their children about the Boston bombing. Here are a few tips that may help you, but can be applied to any tragic situation.

1. Control the images your child sees
2. Reassure your children that they are safe. Try to neutralize their fears.
3. Give kids a little information and let me ask questions
4. Keep the discussion age-appropriate
5. Be honest
6. Continue routines/schedules as necessary
7. Talk about the positive response/stories of heroism

I can’t imagine what the people of Boston are going through. I just hope and pray everything is resolved quickly and the city can begin to heal.



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