FUNKYDADDY

How do we explain terrorism to our children?

Watching the news over the past few weeks it’s clear that the world is becoming a more fragile and scary place. Deplorable attacks which can never be justified no matter what. Now it turns out that there was an Irish link to one of the London attackers and you begin to think could Ireland, either North or South, be attacked by the terrorists in the future?

As a father of two young daughter’s with a third baby on the way it got me thinking how to explain such acts to developing and impressionable minds. Shortly after the Manchester attack there were a variety of posts on this topic. So I asked myself where do I get the answer as to what’s the best way to speak to my children and educate them on this new world we now live in. Yes there is and are umpteen resources online such as this one http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/38949047 but when I started reading and watching researching I began to realise that I was actually in quite a good position myself to address how I explain to my children.

Growing up in the 80s and 90s Belfast was quite a dangerous place to be, a quick Google Search of “The Troubles” will illustrate the frightening day to day life the people of Northern Ireland dealt with. I reflected on myself as a child and how did I make sense of all of the misery, deaths and destruction. Did I feel afraid? Educated?  Safe ?   I suppose I did feel a little fear, that’s probably natural , I did feel a little bit educated although I have no doubt no looking back that I was only given enough information to understand but not enough to exacerbate the fear. But ultimately I always felt safe as I’m sure was the intention of my parents.

So how did my parents do this? I guess they never talked too much about the current political/violence situation, they never watched the news continuously and they never talked to us in a one sided manner ensuring we always understood that people had different views and opinions and that we understood the importance of valuing those differences no matter what.

When I then try to translate that into modern society it becomes more complex. Of course i will try to replicate what my parents did, after all I don’t feel i have grown up affected too much by the troubles. 

But it isn’t enough for me to be mindful not to talk to much about these events in front of the kids on its own, it’s more difficult now to shield children in a world of 24/7 TV and endless social media coverage.

But it isn’t enough for me to be mindful not to talk to much about these events in front of the kids on its own, it’s more difficult now to shield children in a world of 24/7 TV and endless social media coverage.

But it isn’t enough for me to be mindful not to talk to much about these events in front of the kids on its own, it’s more difficult now to shield children in a world of 24/7 TV and endless social media coverage.

But it isn’t enough for me to be mindful not to talk to much about these events in front of the kids on its own, it’s more difficult now to shield children in a world of 24/7 TV and endless social media coverage.

But it isn’t enough for me to be mindful not to talk to much about these events in front of the kids on its own, it’s more difficult now to shield children in a world of 24/7 TV and endless social media coverage. 

But it isn’t enough for me to be mindful not to talk to much about these events in front of the kids on its own, it’s more difficult now to shield children in a world of 24/7 TV and endless social media coverage. But it isn’t enough for me to be mindful not to talk to much about these events in front of the kids on its own, it’s more difficult now to shield children in a world of 24/7 TV and endless social media coverage.

Of course at their current age of 1 and 3 this isn’t a massive problem yet but could be as they grow. For example recently as my eldest daughter prepares for nursery in September we are in a routine where she gets 30 minutes on her (child friendly fire for kids) tablet at lunchtime whilst the youngest naps. I usually watch the news as it’s around 1 or 2 pm, I have been avoiding that the past few weeks. She found the election build up funny on the news with the jeering and jostling, I wasn’t prepared or wanting to see her reaction to recent events.

As parents we need to avoid the temptation to watch as events unfold minute by minute and be mindful of computer usage, yes even at an early age, restricting screen time which they will need to get used to as they get older. Ultimately however as my children begin education and start to form friendships I can’t protect them from talking to people,I can’t be with them 24/7 but what I can do is ensure they are balanced and aware.

For now however they are too young to even contemplate discussion on such horrors so it’s a mental note to myself nor than anything to be aware of my words, actions and viewing habits!

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