Article by Wendy McCance
This week has been a long and painful one. The tragedy at the Boston Marathon has been are hard one to process. The story has been running constantly on the television and is all over the web.
I have been extra cautious about how much time my kids are spending watching the news and reading stories on the web.
It’s a difficult balance, making sure that the kids aren’t shielded completely from such a horrific tragedy and at the same time aren’t become burdened down by the endless onslaught of news coverage.
Apparently, the school district has decided to discuss the events in classrooms and some teachers have had the news on during class.
My oldest daughter has a Global Issues class. They have talked about the Boston Marathon nonstop all week. Although I am glad she is discussing the situation with her peers in a very appropriate class, I still worry that it’s becoming too much.
As soon as the kids would get home each day, the news would go on and they would sit glued to the television set. We would discuss what had happened and what this means for the country. One of my kids who has become fascinated with the legal aspects of this case has asked a lot of questions about what happens when the suspect is caught and how do the police know for sure they have the right people.
For all of the important discussions that have taken place at home because of the events that took place, I still became concerned when those kids were sitting glued to the television for too long, so I turned the channel.
I became concerned that too much coverage would cause more anxiety and fear in the kids. I’m not looking to shield them, but I just don’t think that long hours absorbing scary images that are hard for anyone to process can be very healthy for them.
At the time, I got a lot of complaints from the kids. They thought I was overreacting about how much time they spent watching the news. They mentioned how it was all over Facebook and being talked about in class. I didn’t care that they thought they could handle it. It was just too much.
Last night as the suspect was apprehended, the kids did see how things played out. That night, in the middle of the night, two kids ended up coming into my room, scared. It had become too much and they wanted to sleep in our room. You have to understand that these aren’t little kids. I’m talking about a middle school kid and a child in high school.
Apparently, a combination of the images they saw combined with the fear that the kid caught seemed like anyone they would go to school with, freaked them out.
The takeaway here is that kids take in so much more than what we realize. They hold in a lot of fear that they don’t share. When bad events happen, it’s important to acknowledge what has happened. You should discuss it with your kids. At the same time, I think there is a time when you need to pull the plug and get the kids away from obsessing over what has happened. There is a fine line between educating your children on life’s bad moments and filling their heads beyond what they can take and process.
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