Explaining Pain & Sorrow to my Child

Yesterday my daughter spent the day with her grandparents. While she doesn’t watch TV at home during the weekdays, she does watch it when she is at her grandparents, so she saw the news of what happened in CT. She saw the scenes displayed by the news, she saw the pain and sorrow that so many people went through.

When she came home later that evening she had many questions. I prepared myself for speaking of things I wish I didn’t have to, and told her to let me know what she wa thinking about.

Her first question:

Why did all those kids coming out of the school have blood on them?

Hearing this question made me tear up. I explained to my little 8 year old daughter that these children, many of whom are even younger than her, had been in the same rooms as the children who were shot. I had to explain to her that these children had to watch these horrible scenes play out in front of them. Then I cried thinking of the images that would be forever stuck in their minds.

My husband assures me that it was not bad to cry in front of her about this, but doing so meant I had to explain my thoughts to her. I told her we needed to pray for these children and for the families that lost people. I told her that was the best thing we could do.

Her second question:

Why were people covering the kid’s eyes when they were coming out of the building?

I explained to her that people were trying to keep these little children from having to see more of the scene than they already had. I hate that she saw any parts of this scene. I wish I could have kept her from the need of these questions.

She has a heart that yearns to help others. Her questions come from this desire, and she told me how much she cried while watching all of this on the television screen.

Her last question:

What happened to the guy that did this?

Somehow she missed this part of the news. I hated having to answer this question. What should I tell her? Should I tell her he killed himself? I decided to just tell her that he ended up dying as well. I really don’t want to open up a conversation about suicide with someone who should get to stay innocent as long as possible.

I just have to say though, I am angry. I am angry that this guy’s actions managed to put a black spot in my daughter’s life. I am angry that the news channels do not think about who might be watching as they display graphic scenes. I am also a little angry that the television wasn’t turned off when these things started being displayed. I am angry that there is now so many children who have to deal with something they should never have to deal with. I am angry that there are parents out there now who have to grieve for the loss of their children.

Saying this, I know it does no good to be angry. I just have to continue to pray, and hope that those who are grieving today will allow God to show them comfort. I have to let my child know she is able to come to me with her questions, and I have to pray that she will not be too affected by what she saw.

Did any other parents out there end up having a conversation like this? Let me know how you handled it.

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