I’ve Only Got Questions

I’m lost. Numb and lost. My problem is I don’t know what to do about the bombing in Manchester.

I don’t want to in any way take away from the anguish the family and friends of the victims are experiencing, but my problem is closer to home.

Even typing that it comes across to me as callous. Please don’t think that. I’ve welled up when the names and images of the first two victims were named. Kids. Just kids out having fun. And of course I’ve mentally put my own girls in their places.

I’m halfway across the world, so there’s nothing I can do physically besides cuss under my breath at the dickhead who did this – and I so farking have. But this rage in me is useless and doesn’t help anyone, although I confess it does feel righteous and warranted.

Anyway, I doubt my anger is what the families and friends of the victims need. I’m sure they have enough of that about the burst into their lives. When I try place myself in their shoes I fully suspect I’d go nuclear with hatred once the initial shock had worn off.

But my very real problem right now is my girls – specifically Miss13, Miss10 and Miss7. Do I tell them about this?

We don’t have a tv in the bus so there’s no chance of them accidentally – and it would only be through channel flicking – seeing a headline. Today we were travelling all day in the bus meaning I found this out late, so they didn’t accidentally see it on my computer or phone. This has bought me some time and given me a chance to be discrete over the next couple of weeks. Even then I think I have to tell Miss13 – she has friends who contact her on her phone, and Facebook. Although if I ask her to keep it under her hat I know she would, so long as I get to her before she finds out.

But do I take the risk in the others not finding out, or do I sit them down to discuss this and take what’s coming? Do I wait and see if it passes over their innocent little lives or try manage the fallout?

Do we want the kids thinking they’re putting their lives on the line every time they step out into a crowd? Because that’s what’s going to happen. I know because that’s sort of exactly the thought I have to push back on when we arrive at a concert or large shopping centre or theme park or take public transport. These days we hear so much from around the world that even though it’s not happening to each of us personally, or even to people we know, it feels like it’s the sort of thing which can happen in our community. And my kids, like me, are worriers of the highest order. Anxiety, usually over small things but not always, is something Team Devereaux battles with daily.

So my question is, is anyone else struggling with this tonight? Has anyone made a decision about it? If you’ve talked to your kids, how did it go?

I don’t have an answer here. I can’t offer up anything more than a heap of questions because the answers aren’t presenting themselves to me.

My girls love Ariana Grande. There’s no way they’re not going to know about this one day.

But what I’m wondering is, does it have to be today?

Raising a family on little more than laughs

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  • So, so hard to judge. Miss’ 17, 15 and 12 all have snapchat and attend school. Miss 17’s comment was “WTF?? Ariana is pro-Muslim,/refugee/etc” (condensed and edited for public viewing??). You know your kids best, so you will do what is best for your kids. Totes relate to the anger btw.

  • We don’t watch the news for this very reason. Not just terrorism, but all the bad news that might make the kids think the world is a much scarier place than it really is. But even so there have been lengthy news headlines and stories during the ads of everything tonight, so its impossible to avoid.
    Tonight is a busy night with activities and my girls coming in late from Girl Guides. I wont talk about this specifically but if its raised we will have a discussion. We do discuss such things from time to time when they come up in a practical way because unfortunately it is a reality we all face.
    Today I bought tickets to take my sons to the Ashes and tonight I was questioning my decision and imagining all kinds of terrible things which almost certainly wont happen but I think about it and I hate that. Last night I requested Commonwealth Games tickets and now today I’m a little less excited than I was yesterday….
    I think kids deal with this kind of thing better than I do, but they shouldn’t have to, that’s what I hate

  • Thanks for initiating the conversation Bruce. I’d had similar thoughts, but my kids are younger- 7, 5 and 3, so I probably don’t have to raise it with them. It’s a tricky one- as Bron said you know your kids best. Good luck. I think it’s important that our kids know we are aware and we care.

  • I think Miss 13 could handle it and your son. Maybe the younger ones only if they bring it up? Take a walk with the older ones? But keep it simple and only the amount of info you think they need? It is good for children to have the facts so they don’t rise to all the rumours and sensationalist stuff the may come across on social media. My opinion, only.

  • Tell them. Knowledge is power. Hearing it from someone with love and good intentions empowers them, rather than hearing it used as a weapon by some judgemental arsehat who will use it to elicit fear and hatred. Don’t get me wrong; the piece of shit who inflicted the ripples of pain is exactly that: a piece of shit. But we all know this will be used to bring out gross generalisations again. I’m sure you will do a much better job bringing their focus back to the innocents who need it.

  • I was eleven when the Twin Towers came down. I’m twenty-six now, but I remember with vivid clarity getting out of bed for school and my Dad yelling at me to come into the lounge room.
    That morning, I watched the footage of the attacks with my heart breaking. I remember asking my Dad, “Is this real?” and he had nodded. “But why?” I’d demanded, as angry tears sprung into my eyes.
    “Because there are bad people in the world.” He had said. “And they do messed up things sometimes. They hurt people.”
    “Could this happen here in Australia?” I’d asked.
    Dad paused, before finally answering, “Possibly, yes. But possibly isn’t *definately*.”
    It wasn’t until I went to school and someone else in my class uttered the word “Terrorism” that I realised that what I had witnessed that morning was an act of terror. It blew my mind that terrorism didn’t solely exist in movies, but actually happened.
    I think Dad called me into the lounge room that morning because this is the reality of the world we live in today. He knew I would find out eventually. He also knew that I was the kind of kid who felt her emotions very intensely, and empathised with others like it was nobody’s business. He wanted to be the one who let me know first. He wanted to protect me as best as he could by preparing me for the aftermath of those events.
    I would absolutely tell your eldest girl, sooner rather than later (so she doesn’t find out elsewhere) and use it as a chance for open and honest dialogue to air your concerns and fears. You could touch on the fact that terrorism is a real issue in current society, but elaborate further on the fact that it won’t happen everywhere to everyone, and let her know that the Australian government has preventative measures in place to assist in making sure these people don’t hurt anyone else. Let her ask questions while you’re still asking questions – maybe you’ll be able to find the answers together.

  • Thankfully my little ones are too young to know of the horror of this tragedy. If they were older though, I think I would tell them, a very condensed version, so they know the basics, and talk them through any questions they have. Unfortunately, as much as we all want to, these attacks are more frequent and we cannot shield them forever from the knowledge. I have been in tears at the news, I can’t imagine the horror and I am damn angry. I do not understand violence or terrorist attacks in any form, but to target a place with mostly children is especially unfathomable. I fear for the world and the horrors my children may experience.

  • Bruce, we decided to discuss with Miss 12 and Miss 8, although a slightly softened version (and their reactions told me this was the right thing to do) – I wanted them to hear it from me rather than another child or adult whose version may have been distorted (due to their own anger, disbelief, horror etc)……the hardest part is their only question was “why???”. And therefore lies my angst, because I am their Mum and I don’t know!! ?

    it’s a bloody fine line between protecting our kids (and letting them be kids) and trying to shield them from the reality that our world is becoming (but not wrapping in cotton wool)……I don’t have the answers – we are fighting a completely different parenting battle than our parents and grandparents did – and it’s not easy!!

    Good luck with whatever you decide ❤

  • I don’t have kids so it’s hard to comment on age appropriateness….though I do remember stockpiling canned food after watch the The Prophecies of Nostradamus …

    I did have a thought though. When terrible events happen we can feel helpless. There’s nothing we can do. Not directly anyway. I was thinking that there IS something we can do. We can spread love, tolerance and equality. Thisi counters the fear – and perhaps makes us feel as though in some small way we are being more active.

    Your kids are beautiful souls. If you choose to tell them, consider suggesting they do something, either as individuals or as a famiy to counteract the horror and fear and anger. This can be as simple as making a point of smiling warmly at total strangers. Or you could hold a memorial for the victims and their families, something that allows them to talk it through and honour those who are hurting.

  • I understand completely Bruce, it i can be so hard with kids to know what to share and what to not tell them. Maybe a condensed version for the younger ones, then just answer the direct questions. Kids will ask for more information when they are ready to process it. My own two are 16 and 13, they heard about it on the radio and came running to ask if I had heard and was it as bad as it sounded. I remember someone once telling me “whenever you see bad / evil/ sad things happen in the world, look for the helpers, They are always there”. So I told my kids that. Lots and lots of GOOD people. Helping and sheltering and offering beds and food and helping the injured and caring for kids and staying with them til they get reunited with their families. Make sure you tell your kids about the good people helping. One man did a bad thing but lots of good people helped. It might help to reinforce faith in humanity just a little, by remembering there are many more good people in the world than bad. So sad, my heart and thoughts are with all those affected. But the helpers offer a little hope for the future xo.

  • We have a 7yr old and a nearly 11 yr old….they both know. We had a discussion and they vented their feelings about not understanding why, their sadness that humans died and that all the gods need to have a discussion, make a contract and stop all the bad stuff happening ?

  • My boys are 13 and 10 and have access to everything yet they have not mentioned this to me. I have decided not to bring it up but if they had brought it up I would’ve had no hesitation in talking to them. We have talked about many other terrorist incidents and other things so they do come to me so I don’t have worries that way. If they don’t feel the need to talk, let them have a little bit more childhood is my way of thinking. They are growing up way to fast as it is

  • As someone else mentioned, I was 11 when 9/11 happened. I can remember sitting in the car and listening to the radio in the afternoon and not understanding why they were still talking about it. ( I was fairly oblivious) what followed was one of the first open and enlightening talks with my mum where she shared her views on what happened, and she allowed me to share my fears and opinions.
    To this day whenever something bad happens in the world I call my mum and we have an open and Frank discussion which always ends with a cuddle. It may not solve anything, but it comforts both of us.
    Although your kids don’t have much access to news stations at the moment, they will be made aware of what has happened. There will be a time when you are not on the bus and they need to know what has happened. Kids are resilient and how you react as their parents can shape how they view the world, more then one crazy misinformed man who made a terrible decision can.
    Make sure you highlight the helpers and answer any questions as fully as you can. Your kids seem like smart, helpful, empathetic young people, and you should treat them as such.
    Sadly enough I somehow doubt this will be the only attack they see in their life.

What do you think?

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