Today Beansey aged 9 came out of school subdued. He came home and went straight upstairs to his room. I thought perhaps he was tired or just wanted some "down time" and when I went upstairs, he was lying on his bed quietly crying.
When I asked him what was wrong, he told me that "a very bad man had shot 20 children in America and that he never wanted to go to America and would a bad man come and kill kids in his school?".
I was shocked and upset at his questioning, and on further discussion, it seemed that they had all watched something called "news bites" today and it was reported and then discussed in school. He said that a few children were crying and that he didn't want to sleep on his own tonight in case someone got him.
What happened in American was tragic and upsetting enough for adults, so how are the little people meant to deal with this? It meant we had to have a conversation about why the man did it and what his possible motives could be, it made for an uncomfortable discussion that just upset my son further, despite my best efforts to assure him that events like this, whilst devastating are actually incredibly rare.
When we heard the tragic news last week, my husband and I decided that we wouldn't tell the children, this was OUR decision as although they are streetwise in the sense of knowing there are "bad people" out there, we don't want to expose them to every tragic event that does unfold.
Terrorist attacks, shootings, muggings and child aduction are all widely reported and in the 24/7 news cycle that we live in. It is often quite tricky to sheild them from current events that we are exposed to daily but I do my best to "drip feed" them news as and when I feel it is appropriate.
We made the decision not to mention the tragic shootings in the US as I knew my eldest would be distrubed and upset.
Tonight I have had to reassure him that it won't happen to his school, we had to discuss why God lets the bad people do things to good people (if anyone can guide me on that I'd be very grateful as I struggle myself with this) and I had to hold him until he fell asleep with the light on.
I am a bit miffed that the school chose to tell him, not all children are emotionally mature to deal with such events but most of all, I am sad that my little *big* boy has had to be reassured that what happened is dreadfully sad but also very rare.
The biggest gift after love that we can give our children is to communicate with them, for them to feel secure and confident and for them to know that no matter what, as parents we do everything we can to keep them safe from harm.
I came across this website tonight which has helped me to assess the situation. I hope that if you are also facing tricky questions then you'll find some answers here as well.
Hug those close to you that little bit tighter tonight. I know I did.
Peace and Love