We are living in a society where our children watch television, use technology, and access social media at a very early age. Yes, it is essential, but there are downsides to it too. Like we all sense it, it might not be as bright a world as we had thought.
On 13th November 2015, the Paris attacks happened, and I hadn’t seen our son cry as he did ever before. We were in the kitchen and for a moment we thought he got into an accident and as soon as we rushed into the lounge, we were taken aback. There he was standing in front of the TV with the repeating headlines of the number of people killed. It was sad, the news and to see an 8-year-old cry his heart out for the people who he didn’t even know.
Though it did teach us a lot of things, as parents we really felt the need to sit down with our son. Of course, the first hour went by consoling his mood, but then we decided to have a talk with him.
Here are the steps we took as parents:
1. Ask Your Child What They Feel
The first most important thing is to let your child express how they feel and what exactly do they feel. This allowed me to gather his thoughts and say them instead of having a chaotic mind at that moment. He told us that he was very disheartened by seeing innocent people killed and some religions are bad.
By now, some would agree with our child, but those are not the values we want to teach our child. This opened a conversation where explained to our child that religions are not bad, societies are not bad, people are not bad nor are any countries bad. It is a matter of a few individuals who plague every situation.
2. Do Not Let Your Child Sleep Alone
We allowed our son to sleep in our room for a couple of days after the attack and this is something we should do every time there is a traumatic experience that the child is facing. Some feel that this would not make the child to grow strong, but it is essential for all to feel the every day love families are to provide everyday and make sure the child feels it.
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3. Make Them Feel Safe
That night, our son thought that this was it and he will never be able to go to school or see his friends. My husband and I got him his jacket, sat in the car and drove around the city. Of course, it was not as crowded but there were a lot of people carrying on with their lives, and like we often do, we stopped by his favorite ice cream parlor and got him to understand that it is all safe and he is safe too.
4. We Were Available for the Following Week
That night my husband and I decided that we were going to be available for our son a little extra than we usually are. We would come home and spend time with him and take him out again for some dinner or ice cream.
There is no way to protect your child from the atrocious acts happening today, but we need to all face reality someday. Be there for your child and let them express what they feel.
Over the following weeks, we were proud of our son as we found him to be filled with wisdom and much stronger. It’s all about from how we dealt with our 8-year-old on the day of the Paris attacks.
Author’s Note: The article was requested to be published anonymously.
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