Paris terrorist attacks: How much do we tell our children?

This is something I've really pondered over the last few days.

Struggled with.

My head and my heart are at logger heads over it.

My 5 year old came home on Monday having been told about what happened in Paris at School.

My instant gut feeling was 'Why would they tell them?'

Why would they take it upon themselves to tell my child something I didn't want her to know?

My heart tells me to shield my child from all the bad in the world.

To let them be children for as long as possible. 

Naive to what horrible things are out there.

Content in their little bubble of loveliness.

It made me angry.

What if she'd have gotten scared?

Guns and terrorists are scary things to even the bravest of people, let alone to children!

She has previously spoken a lot of death and war after discussing remembrance Sunday and the significance of the poppy at school.

I didn't mind this at all. 

It was in the past. It was something I could explain happened but was a long time ago and we overcame it. We are in a happier world now.

Reality is, we're not are we?

The Paris attacks are just so now. So real. 

How do I explain this is happening in our world?

The world we live TODAY.

How do I reassure her we'll be OK?

How do I protect her from this?

The only way I could see in that moment to protect her from it is to shield her from the news. The reality.

The school took that choice out of my hands.

I am still a little annoyed they did that. That there was no forewarning they were going to discuss things. So I could then make the decision to speak with her first.

Luckily, LL isn't as sensitive as other children might be. She simply told me they had prayed for the poor people who had been killed and their families. 

She didn't ask any further questions on the matter.

BB was told in the same assembly and he hasn't mentioned a thing. I think it has totally gone over his head.

Since my gut reaction of not wanting her to know, I have seen a lot in the media on the subject and my head has taken over.

I know in the real world, it is impossible to shield her.

I know that I might not tell her, and she might go in to school and another child might tell her. 

They might tell her a very misinformed version. Bits they've picked up on at home. 

They might scare her more.

At least if she new enough. Enough for a 5 year old to process. She wouldn't be shocked in the playground by any talk of it. She wouldn't be misinformed. And hopefully not as scared.

I saw only a few days ago on a group about a childminder who had been observing her minded children playing planes. There were a group of little ones, 5 and under, all running around as planes when an older boy of 8 or 9 ran into the middle of the group shouting he was a suicide bomber.

I don't know what came of the situation after that but I can only assume the boy potentially didn't know what he was saying. Perhaps he had heard it on the news and just repeated it in play. Perhaps he thought it was just like a fighter jet? 

I will never know why he said what he did but it confirmed for me that we do need to address the situation with our children.

Perhaps if that boy fully new what the term meant, he'd never have shouted it?

I also saw a video of a little french boy with his father being interviewed for French TV. 

So beautifully put by his father.

This was all the proof I needed.

The children do need to know there is bad out there.

But we as parents need to do everything to let them know that love will win over hate.

That we will always protect them.

That we will always love them.

And together, we can all make the world a better place.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. You're right, they should know what is happening, and know that we are there for them. It's the best we can do as parents. I hope you're feeling a little better about the school now. I saw that video too, I thought it was lovely. x

  3. We had exactly the same thing - the school ran an anti-bullying week last week and told the kids about Paris. There are lots of Muslims at the school too and I was so annoyed as we had decided not to tell our anxious daughter!

  4. It's so sad that we are having to tell our children about these things, but I guess it's something we have to do.


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