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To think 9 is too young to be discussing Charlie Hebdo Attack

(27 Posts)
Cockbollocks Tue 23-Jun-15 15:24:36

I asked DS what he was learning in PHSE today - apparently they have been discussing Muslims and their religion. I asked him if he knew about Ramadan thinking that is relevant for the moment.

He replied with his version of the story of the Charlie Hebdo attack, which frankly worried me as his words were "A nasty cartoon was drawn and the Muslims were upset and shot them" (my slightly shortened version)

I'm just not sure he is old enough to understand the difference between people who would do this, extremist behaviour although I have tried to explain a little. Also i'm not sure I want him thinking about this or being aware of this type of evil so young AIBU?

Cockbollocks Tue 23-Jun-15 15:25:36

Sorry I missed a bit - he said no they had not learned about Ramadan, but had learnt about the attack.

MrsTerryPratchett Tue 23-Jun-15 15:29:26

I think if he's getting that message, something has gone badly wrong.

diplodocus Tue 23-Jun-15 15:30:34

Unless you don't have a radio or television on when they're about I can't see how you can avoid them hearing about this sort of thing. I would prefer it to be discussed sensitively and intelligently than swept under the carpet - obviously what I don't know is how well the school dealt with it.

diplodocus Tue 23-Jun-15 15:31:27

And yes -agree with MrsTerryPratchett

mileend2bermondsey Tue 23-Jun-15 15:33:28

What diplo said.

Cockbollocks Tue 23-Jun-15 15:34:14

diplodocus I don't watch/listen to things that are for adults with the kids about generally.

This has made me think that maybe I am sheltering him a little too much. And no I don't think it was discussed in the right way.

TheCatsMother99 Tue 23-Jun-15 15:36:50

Completely agree with MrsTerry, sounds like something has been seriously lost in translation (which needs putting right before all the children seriously believe that story)

LadyPlumpington Tue 23-Jun-15 15:39:34

It does sound like he got a rather mixed message there.

In more general terms, I've discussed WW2 with my 4yo, as Captain America was involved and so it naturally came up in conversation. Ds1 has only just turned 4 and he seemed quite interested, albeit briefly. I steered away from mentioning Germany and talked about Hitler and his soldiers a lot though.

WhoKnowsWhereTheTimeGoes Tue 23-Jun-15 15:44:53

It's not too young for the subject, but it doesn't sound as though the discussion itself was handled well.

ShakesBootyFlabWobbles Tue 23-Jun-15 15:45:11

The use of ''the Muslims' instead of 'extremists', and 'learning about Muslims' instead of 'learning about extremism' is just plain wrong. If it was presented this way then YANbu.

It could be possible that your son hasn't presented what he has heard correctly. Even if this is the case though, the message he's taken away is way off so at least you can correct him. May be worth mentioning to the school though so they can see how what was presented was interpreted.

I think at age 9 there was likely no way of avoiding hearing about the Charlie hebdo attack, it was on all forms of media.

mousmous Tue 23-Jun-15 15:49:19

we discuss those things a lot and openly esp as there is a lot of 'playground distortion' and also the dc read the (sometimes graphic) headlines in newspaper displays and on public transport.

Runningoverthefields Tue 23-Jun-15 15:53:31

I think you are sheltering him too much especially if you want him to get a more balanced understanding of difficult issues. My DS is 9 too. He has a quick look at the newspaper every day and asks questions about the stories he reads. Admittedly he usually just turns straight to the back pages, just like his Dad! I do protect him sometimes. e.g. if there's a plane crash on the front page and I'm going to be on a flight the next day then I'll hide the newspaper so that he doesn't worry.

It is hard for kids to see nuance - they just want to know who's right and who's wrong. So they'll come out of a school lesson with a very reductive idea about what they've been told. DS and I had a long chat about Charlie Hebdo which turned into a discussion about the secular nature of the French state, then the French Revolution, then the Hugenots etc. etc... God it was exhausting. And after all that he said 'So who's better then, the French or us?' Gah! But still worthwhile to talk about it, and I will keep relentlessly discussing things with him. Otherwise he's going to end up forming his opinions as a teenager from stuff he reads on the internet.

maxxytoe Tue 23-Jun-15 15:55:30

Well what he's said is right isn't it?

Goldmandra Tue 23-Jun-15 15:58:35

My DD2 was the same age at MM when she disappeared. DD2 saw the story on the tv news and heard about it on the radio. That was inevitable. She asked about her and I explained in an age appropriate way.

Over the years she has learned more as she has matured and continued to ask when the case came up in the media. She's now 12 and knows the full story such as it is.

I think it's better to talk about things in an age appropriate way than to try to pretend bad things don't happen until you suddenly think they are old enough to know.

I would discuss the Charlie Hebdo Attack with my 9YO if I had one but I would also make sure they understood the difference between religion and extremism.

JacquesHammer Tue 23-Jun-15 16:02:06

I discussed it with DD who is 8.

I had an early reader. I really couldn't shelter her - she would read things on newspaper advertising boards and ask what they meant.

I decided from an early age simplistic honesty was the best policy

Cockbollocks Tue 23-Jun-15 16:12:10

I can honestly say he did not hear anything about it when it happened and had no clue until it was discussed in class. I think you are probably right in that I am sheltering him too much. He is quite immature, intelligent but very black and white.

We did have a little chat about the difference between the extremists who did this and Muslims as a whole.

semi Tue 23-Jun-15 16:18:17

News is important. Espresso Education is something that many schools have. They digest current news in a kid-friendly way. My daughter is 8 and has been watching the news for as long as I can remember (I'm news/current affairs addicted). At 5 she wrote to Ashley Baker Davies to ask them why Peppa Pig didn't read the news. I wouldn't continue to shelter your son. Discuss what's happening in the world in language that he'll understand if he asks. Personally, I think it's a parents duty to be the first educator of their child, not a school's. kind regards

motherinferior Tue 23-Jun-15 16:28:19

Well what he's said is right isn't it?

Not if what he said is 'the Muslims shot them'. A small number of extremists shot them.

LadyPlumpington Tue 23-Jun-15 16:29:13

Yes it is factually correct maxxy, but if the topic is not expanded upon further then the little boy risks developing a very negative view of all Muslims based on the actions of a misguided few.

I'm glad you've discussed it with him op.

MrsTerryPratchett Tue 23-Jun-15 16:37:22

Well what he's said is right isn't it? Nope. Extremists and violent racists shoot people in this way. Like the recent shooting in the States. Muslims, all 1 and half BILLION of them, tend not to get grumpy and shoot people. Otherwise, I think we'd have quite big problems.

Runningoverthefields Tue 23-Jun-15 17:55:09

My DS would love it if I would let him reduce it down to "A nasty cartoon was drawn and the Muslims were upset and shot them"! It's all good jumping off points for a debate with a 9 year old though.

A nasty cartoon - that needs a debate around why the cartoons were offensive to Muslims and whether or not they were offensive to people who aren't Muslims. And then what goes into the personal decision as to whether the cartoons were nasty in themselves. I showed DS the 'All is forgiven' cartoon and we talked about it.

"The Muslims were upset" - we talked about why even moderate Muslims were upset. We talked about the similarities with Christianity as he'd learned the Ten Commandments at school so he'd heard about 'graven images' etc. We talked about how religious laws change over time and how there were depictions of the Prophet drawn by Muslims once, and then about how the nature of Christianity has changed since the early Church - and then about the nature of religion if the rules are subject to change - and what is the nature of religion if the laws are NOT subject to change?

"And shot them" - who shot who? There's so much context there - about marginalised youth, about how propaganda works, and about extremism on the one side. Then on the other side about who was shot - and why they knowingly chose to risk being shot for what they published.

I'd go through all of that with him, asking lots of questions, providing background and researching alongside him from newspapers to find more context. My DS seems to be incredibly bored when I debate this stuff with him, but then he comes out with questions about it weeks later and I realise that he really was listening after all.

Cockbollocks Tue 23-Jun-15 18:15:02

I think that is what has bothered me - he didn't understand so filled in the blanks. In his head the cartoon must have been nasty which is why 'the muslims shot them'

We had a whole conversation about why the cartoon was offensive to them, freedom of speech/print etc

He did get bored and definitely started to glaze over so hopefully he has taken it on bored.

running I also worry that I'm not knowledgeable enough to teach him correctly, another poster mentioned thats its down to me and not his teachers - however I can talk a little about most things but i'm not confident enough to deal with all the questions on everything.

mousmous Tue 23-Jun-15 18:39:39

with my dc I sometimes say that I don't know. sometimes we look things up together on the internet.

popmimiboo Tue 23-Jun-15 19:00:05

YABU -my 9 year old, along with the rest of her school (aged 3-11) were kept inside at playtime until the CH perpetrators were caught, as we live a few miles from where they were hiding.
She was scared and worried at the time but sensible discussions at school and at home were enough to help her understand and process what was going on.
I'm sure, if the children here are totally unscathed and untraumatised by the events, your DC will be able to have a discussion about it without being scarred for life!

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