Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you will know that Christchurch (and New Zealand) were rocked by a horrific terror attack in which 50 of our wonderful people were killed.
We haven’t ever experienced anything like this here, so it’s come as a shock that it could happen. Especially on that level.
I was initially so upset, and still am, but that has been overshadowed by an intense anger that I have felt.
An anger towards people who think that there are people who “don’t belong here” in New Zealand. That the religion they choose to follow, means that they can’t possibly co-exist in the same space as others. That the person they choose to love, means that they’re less of a person.
We are all human beings, and each and every single one of us deserves to be here in New Zealand and on this planet.
I don’t really want to get into the ins-and-outs of intolerance and racism, but it made me feel sick and so disappointed.
New Zealand should be about LOVE, not FEAR.
Anyway, after it happened, I realised that at some point my children would find out. They are 5 and 7, and whilst they’re technically young, they still are naive and I didn’t know if I wanted them to know about it.
My husband and I sat down and we chatted about what to do, and what to say.
After 24 hours, we decided we would say something to them. For two reasons.
- The school was going to be having a moment’s silence and they might wonder why and;
- Other kids could know more and I’d rather them have a bit of information, than hear it first time from the kids at school
I kept it brief, and VERY simple.
I said “I’m just letting you guys know that on Monday, at school, you are going to have to be silent for 1 minute“. And when they asked why, I said “because a bad man killed a lot of New Zealand people. It’s very sad, and by being silent for 1 minute, we think about these people and how much our heart hurts for them and their families“.
And I kept it at that.
They didn’t ask why. In fact, my kids followed it up with “Oh, can we have a milkshake please?” … KIDS RIGHT!?
I didn’t feel it needed elaborating as I knew it was out of their realm to grasp it.
HOWEVER that doesn’t mean I don’t think other kids couldn’t understand. I just didn’t feel like going into details with mine.
I know of parents who told their kids everything and they took that on board and were fine.
If my kids come and ask me more questions (which they eventually did after school), then I would elaborate by more telling them that “Sometimes some people don’t think that certain people deserve to live here. It doesn’t make sense to us because they don’t bother us, just like we don’t bother them. But sometimes, some people think they know better”.
Look to be honest, I have no f’ing clue what I’m doing as a parent. I don’t even think for one second I’m equipped enough to try and explain something like what happened, to my kids.
But I try, even if it’s on a very basic level.
Did you tell your kids about what happened? How did they react?
If you need some help with how to tell your children, or if your child gets anxious about it, check out the below links.
- How to talk to your kids about trauma (The Parenting Place)
- How to talk to children about terrorism (The Conversation)
- Helping children (Health.govt.nz)
- Mental health advice for coping after a traumatic event (Health.govt.nz)
- 10 tips for helping children cope with disaster (Save The Children)
I hope you are all doing ok out there. It’s certainly been an intense time for everyone. More so for the victims and families. My thoughts and prayers are constantly with them.