My children love to ask me questions. It’s because they know about President Obama, Donald Trump, ISIS, gun violence, and bombs on planes. It’s mostly because I always have NPR on while I’m taking them or picking them up from school and 75 percent of the time I either have Bloomberg or CBS News on the television just to give me a little background noise while I’m either cleaning the house or preparing dinner. Whereas I won’t let them watch R-rated movies or violent cartoons, I do expose them to the news during some part of the day, even if they are listening to it or not.
Now, they don’t sit down on the couch or actually watch the news of even fully pay attention to the radio, but they do pick out certain key words that they like to ask me about later. My daughter might only be 8-years-old but she’s already asked me why Donald Trump always looks like the color of a tangerine and how come ISIS killed so many people in Paris. I try to explain these things to her, even though I know my answers aren’t always correct. I mean, no one really has the answer as to why a 69-year-old businessman cakes the wrong color of powder on his face or the real reason why terrorism exists. But together, we’re learning and in our conversations I can see her beginning to form opinions while trying a little critical thinking on her end.
Now, not every parent would agree with me that it’s ok to allow our little curious minds to watch the news. Sarah Cottrell of Scary Mommy explained in a recent blog post why she doesn’t allow her children to watch the news in her house. She writes:
By not playing the news, I am actively keeping the national conversations around terrorism and gun violence, in particular, away from my children. They do not need to know about Sandy Hook or Paris. They do not need to know that there are dangerous men out there who want nothing more than to kill us. They do not need to know that when they become of age they can join the military and fight these monsters on foreign soil.
All of those things will come in time. And as long as I can, I will slow those truths from reaching my children’s ears. For now, they play ninja games in the backyard. They search for fairies in the woods. The scariest thing in to them is my meatloaf or the stink of their dad’s feet when he takes off his shoes at the end of the day. For them, being afraid of the dark is more about the unknown; monsters are an abstract idea completely divorced from reality but instead firmly rooted in imagination.
I can definitely agree with Sarah on these points, as every parent is well aware of how some frightening news stories can impact young minds. While I do try to keep my children’s personal bubbles safe, happy and healthy, I do also want them to be aware of what’s going on inside their communities and around the world and I think it’s never too early for them to learn to be compassionate towards those who might not have as much as we do or who have suffered and gone through some of the world’s most horrific atrocities. I don’t want them to wake up one day and be frightened to find out that the world isn’t as perfect as their little lives are. But then again, that’s just me as a mother, and just like any other parent would tell you, we do what’s best for our kids.
Thoughts, Hot Moms?