My 5yo called me in from the kitchen as we were getting ready for school this morning. "look at that Mummy" she said pointing at the breakfast news, "are there people in there?"
Although I've always known this day would come, I've been dreading having to explain the 9/11 attacks and terrorism in general.
I was deeply traumatised when I first realised the existence of war, and in particular nuclear war, in the 1970's & 80's. It was the time of "Threads" and "When the Wind Blows". I don't think my mum handled it very well as she wouldn't discuss it at all. I had nightmares for years and became almost obsessed by it. I'm keen not to make the same mistake as my child is quite sensitive as I was.
I'd like to hear of other Mum's experiences please so I can help my child handle it in the most positive way possible.
I was teaching a Year 2 class 10 years ago and I spent probably about a week answering questions like that, together with lots of questions about 'going to war' as they were obviously overhearing what the adults around them were saying. My policy was that I answered all their questions as honestly as I could, in terms they understood but at the same time emphasising how far away it was happening so that they understood it wasn't in the next town!
I do the same with my own children now, honest answers in words they understand.
My Uncle was badly hurt on 9/11 and when explaining it to his children he was totally honest and open. I really think that's the best policy. He explained that some bad men who had had bad ideas put in their heads hurt many people and as a result, those people weren't here anymore.
They got more details the older they grew but he was always honest and forthcoming.