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How much did you tell your children about the terrorist attacks in London?

(79 Posts)
expatkat Mon 11-Jul-05 18:34:33

I was very direct with my ds, who is nearly 6. I didn't mention that people had lost their lives, but if he'd asked, I'd have said so (I think).

If I had a more anxious sort of child, I might well have kept it from him, but it seemed the right thing to do for this particular child. (My 2-year-old is happily oblivious.)

I'm not entirely sure I did the right thing, but I'm comfortable enough with my decision.

How did you all handle it with your young children?

nutcracker Mon 11-Jul-05 18:36:41

My dd (7) paid more interest in it than i liked really but I wasn't going to stop her from watching it if she wanted too.

Her dad gave his usual short sharp reply when she asked what it was abaout, so then I explained a bit more clearly.

I told her it was time she forgoit about it though when i discoverd she had bookmarked a page about it the computer.

Nightynight Mon 11-Jul-05 18:39:23

My earliest memories of news are listening to reports of bombs going (IRA of course). didnt know the rights and wrongs of the situation of course, but just accepted it as part of normal life.

Ladymuck Mon 11-Jul-05 18:41:50

Still a sore point - ds was told at pre-school. He is 4. At the point I had to pick him up I still hadn't heard from dh. I did opt to lie and tell him that dh wasn't affected, other than the trains may have stopped running (thankfully this turned out to be the truth). I told him that some people didn't like the way we lived in this country and that they wanted to attack it, and that by doing so they hurt people.

I would have prefered if his preschool had not said anything tbh. I would have probably protected him from it. But we do have some family friends who have been living in cities with a large amount of terrorist activity so we have addressed some of this earlier on than we would have liked to. In particular we have had to address religious persecution and the idea that some people are hated because they love their God.

sparklymieow Mon 11-Jul-05 18:42:58

Ds saw a ticker on Sky one, which said Bomb news, during The simpsons, so I had to explain what that happened, he asked what stations had been bombed, I told him, and he said 'NO not Russell Square' as this is the station we get off to go to GOSH, I also had to say that my brothers girlfriend was caught in the bus bomb, but she is ok. HE asked if it was safe to travel into LOndon, as he knows we go up there a lot. He was quite calm about it, till he asked if anyone had died, I said yes, and he cried.
He knows that some bad people did this, because of the troops in the other countries.

spidermama Mon 11-Jul-05 18:43:00

I don't listen to the news when my kids are around. This seems to have passed them by. Phew!

If they ask I'll tell them some people let off bombs to try to hurt others because they were upset about their freinds and family being hurt.

spidermama Mon 11-Jul-05 18:43:43

I think that they need to know about these things very gradually when they come up, so they can start learning how to filter news.

nutcracker Mon 11-Jul-05 18:46:07

I think thats awful that your ds's pre-school told him Ladymuck. Why on earth did they feel the need to tell a 4 year old that ??

foxinsocks Mon 11-Jul-05 18:48:14

ladymuck - I would be cross with the pre-school. I think pre-school age is too young. Mine don't know and my eldest is in reception, youngest in pre-school. Ds (at pre-school) had some idea that something was up because we were on a (outer) London bus when the news came in and got a call on our phone (just before the network died) but he had no understanding of it and I didn't have to explain anything.

KBear Mon 11-Jul-05 18:49:45

outrageous telling pre-school kids about it - I would be very cross. My DH told DD the bare minimum about it when I was in London on Thursday and that's how it stayed, I don't watch the news when the kids are around, they don't need to know. DD would worry as I work in London.

Ladymuck Mon 11-Jul-05 18:50:41

In fairness I suspect it wasn't a matter of "telling them", it was that the staff were finding out themselves during the morning, and were discussing it in front of the children (not helped by the fact that the preschool is less than 100 yards from East Croydon Station which was also evacutated that morning due to a bomb scare).

Not sure whether that is better or worse.

Of course all is forgotten this morning as one of the children ran into a door and cut hs head pretty badly (ambulance called), so last weeks news is defnitely forgotten in the current excitement - at least that is the good thing about 4 year olds - still easily distracted! I'd be more worried if they were the type to dwell on things too much.

binkie Mon 11-Jul-05 18:50:53

Ds (6) is a voracious reader and had got at the Economist, so we had to explain. Pretty straightforward: some people had decided to try to frighten everyone so had bombed the transport system. Yes, some people had died. Yes, it was very sad.

He's a very insistent questioner, so we had to go a bit further and say that (making a presumption about who it was, of course) they'd done it because they wanted to attack everyone who wasn't in their religion. BUT (and maybe this is a controversial bit) we said: the bombers got their religion wrong. The religion they have is not a religion about hurting people: properly it's like other religions - about thinking how to be good.

trefusis Mon 11-Jul-05 18:51:43

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Ladymuck Mon 11-Jul-05 18:51:54

Our television was definitely only on Nick Jr or CBeebies for the last few days (until the evening anyway).

WideWebWitch Mon 11-Jul-05 19:00:13

I told ds someone had set off some bombs in London because he heard me say 'yes she's all right' to someone on the phone about my sister and he wondered why they were asking. He asked why they set off the bombs and I said who knows why people do terrible things and left it at that. If he'd asked more I'd have tried to explain but he didn't. He's 7.5

WideWebWitch Mon 11-Jul-05 19:01:45

I wouldn't be at all happy with a pre school deciding it was in order to discuss it with the children, I don't think it's their place, especially if they don't know you've had confirmation that your family are ok.

expatkat Mon 11-Jul-05 22:32:33

I agree with everyone who says it wasn't the preschool's place to talk about the attack. I suspect it was a blunder that was regretted after the fact (even if they say differently).

Done Mon 11-Jul-05 22:37:37

Don't see the point in not letting them see the news once they're at school - not pre-school - age - do they not go to the shops - you could hardly miss the pictures in the newspapers.

jampots Mon 11-Jul-05 22:38:00

dd found out from school and told ds. DS is fascinated by hte news but feel he's not mature enough to cope with some stories. I would rather shield him from some atrocities - rightly or wrongly

Done Mon 11-Jul-05 22:40:09

Because of my parents feelings about hiding the reality of the news from me I grew up with a phobia of esclators - sparked from seeing pictures in the paper, and hearing news reports at people's houses about the Kings Cross fire - all I understood, as I was still young, was that it was a fire on an escalator - thus sparking a phobia that last nearly 20yrs!

expatkat Mon 11-Jul-05 22:50:54

That was part of my thinking, Done. My parents did a sort of half-baked job of protecting me from things, so I always knew something was wrong, but never what was wrong, so fears ran wild in my head, fears that were often worse than the reality.

But I have complete sympathy for people who choose NOT to discuss this with their kids. That seems totally valid, too. I'm still not sure what I did was right, but I do know that ds spends a lot of time in NYC and London, which means that terrorism is something he's going to have to know about at some point. (I suppose if I lived in the country I'd be more likely not to mention it.)

vickiyumyum Mon 11-Jul-05 22:54:38

ds1 was told about it at school and they had a special assembly to say prayers for the victims of the bombs (CofE school)
so he was quite knowledgable about the subject and started asking me questions about why do people hate each other so much that they would want to hurt other people. hes 8yo.
i didn't tell him that his dad was in london on the day and saw what had happened with his own eyes. thought that this was too much information, i still find it hard to come to terms with that a few minutes earlier and dh could have been one fo the victims.
i lit a candle at church and said a few silent prayers for everyone.(i'm not very religious, i just seem to find comfort in the church at times of stress)

expatkat Mon 11-Jul-05 23:02:32

Vicky, do you agree with the school's decision to discuss it? I'd have thought that's exactly the right way to handle it (for a C of E school) to exactly the right ages.

expatkat Mon 11-Jul-05 23:03:53

(And sorry to hear your dh had to witness it firsthand--but obviously it's great news that he's OK.)

Orinoco Mon 11-Jul-05 23:06:10

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