So, there we were, me and my boy, singing along to the radio in the car … well, actually, I was more rapping like a boss to Tinie Tempah (definitely not Tiny, no I didn’t need my daughter to tell me that at all) … you know how it is … like I owned that rap … because, obviously, as you’ve probably already guessed … I could have been a rapper … just chose not to be. OK, we will ignore the point here that my son once told me when I was ‘rapping like a boss’ in the kitchen “Mummy, don’t ever audition for the X Factor” … ouch … short lived dreams and all that.
… but moving swiftly on, there we were, happy in our own little bubble when … boom … the news comes on … and as quick as a flash … the happy, chilled out vibe of listening to the radio and spending time with my boy is replaced with terror … terror plots on London, men arrested for planned drive by shootings … in London … where Daddy works, where my boy’s big sister spends the majority of her time … right in our lives … right in our space … right there on the radio, in our bubble … fear for whoever is listening … no thought for the age group who may hear those words … no warning … no glossing over with age appropriate words … absolutely no regard for the fact that now my boy is having to process some pretty crazy
shit rubbish in his too young a mind to have to understand … and let’s be honest, I’m sure that most adults don’t understand either.
… and this is the thing with the radio … we have no control over its content … we just have to remember that in between ‘rapping like the boss’ we have to switch from wannabe worldwide superstar rapper sensation to responsible parent in 2 seconds flat and turn the radio off … and trust me, that is not so easy for me when I get lost in the moment … but also, my boy is getting to the age that when he hears the news on the radio he kind of knows that there is something being said that is different from the world he lives in and he knows … he turns the volume up just that little bit more … his curious developing mind beginning to realise that perhaps the world isn’t all beautiful and rosy like the one I’ve shown him.
… am I wrong to want to protect him? Am I wrong to not want to discuss terrorism with him yet? Do I want him to worry when Daddy goes to work or his sister gets on the tube? Isn’t it my right, in some shape or form, to try to let him have a trouble free childhood? He’s aware of poverty and worn torn countries and we commit to the charity work abroad and in the UK … but is it fair that he should hear about terror so very close to home?
Lori Lite, a parenting stress expert and author, says that you should limit the amount of exposure your child has to media coverage of terrorism so that stress is managed. Obviously the level of exposure and content to a 5 year old would be less than to that of a 15 year old and she goes on to explain that it is important that we listen and acknowledge their feelings of fear but ensure that we provide hugs and comfort so that they feel safe.
Sadly, there is no answer … terror isn’t going to go away … we have to accept it’s a reality and learn the best way we can to discuss it with our children whilst not putting our fears on to them … this is no easy feat … but whoever said parenting was easy? … we certainly have our work cut out in today’s day and age to try and protect our children … just saying.
Would love to hear your views on news content during the day and how you’ve handled talking to your children about this very difficult and emotive subject.