The world has been quite senseless lately and as an adult I have days where I really am struggling to understand the whys. Having said that, I still find myself aching to know what is happening around the world and who it is affecting.
I have heard that a lot of people are stopping their children from being exposed to the news. That people are blanket banning news from their homes and in particular the eyes and ears of their children.
I am the opposite, don’t get me wrong I don’t sit on the lounge with my six year old and make her watch the graphic London footage, but it is on in the background. Her father and I continue to have conversations about events like those that are shaping our world.
My daughter understands that sometimes bad things happen to good people and that you can’t live your life in fear. She recognises that there are extreme people who don’t represent all people and they choose to do nasty things.
Just last night I had a discussion with her about different faiths and how you can’t simply categorise all people into the same basket. The conversation started because she had heard the term “All Muslims are terrorists”.
We spoke about how the Islamic faith is actually one of the most peaceful religions in the world, but that some people choose to interpret it entirely differently. Much like how some people can choose to read the Catholic bible differently to most.
A six year old has blind faith and she doesn’t see a reason to discriminate or judge others and that is the exact reason why I think it is important for her to see what is happening in the world. I don’t want her to hear parts of news, jokes or judgments from small minded people and think that’s how we should all feel.
I have zero psychological qualifications and to be honest am probably breaking some cardinal rule that I am not aware of but if I engulf her with protection now and ban all news reporting and coverage then how does she build her own impression of the world?
There are some really horrible things that happen in the world but I can’t change those things. What I can do instead, is to start a conversation with her.
We heard on the news a few weeks ago about a baby that had been abandoned by his mother, so that started a brief conversation about mental health and depression and the importance of watching those around us for signs.
We saw another story about a 13 year old who had reportedly been approached on the way to school by a strange man. So this time we were able to discuss the importance of stranger danger and being aware of our surroundings.
On the news we saw Prince Harry and his involvement in the Invictus Games. So that started a conversation about wounded war veterans and the support they might need when they return home.
We watched an article about childhood obesity rising in Australia so we were able to discuss ‘sometimes foods’ and the importance of exercise.
My greatest fear is that if I protect her too strongly one day she will realise what a lie she has been told. I think it is really important not to raise a naïve little person who does not see the difference between good and evil, and as unfortunate as what it is, if she doesn’t also see bad she won’t be able to appreciate the endless good that also exists.
I want my children to ask questions, I need them to want to justify things that are completely unjustifiable. The reason for this is so they can understand just how unfair the world can be. I don’t want her to grow up believing that everything will go her way because sometimes life doesn’t discriminate the goodies from the baddies but regardless you still have to stay a goodie.
I truly believe that anything that starts a conversation is good, she needs to feel free to approach me about things she hears or how it affects the world around her. Turning off the news only shelters them for a little while and isn’t it better to let them learn coping skills instead?
I would love to hear your opinions, maybe I am completely off-field but in a world that is changing and evolving ever so quickly it’s nice to have an open discussion already on foot about all types of topics with the youngest minds around us.