It’s now been almost one week since our Capitol, and our democracy, were attacked by MAGA/trump supporting white supremacists. As a life long news junkie, and someone who now works from home like many of you, I spent hours glued to my television watching the horrifying events unfold minute by minute. Seeing Confederate flags, Camp Auschwitz and 6MWNE sweatshirts, and the physical violence made me sick.
Fortunately, I was home alone, so could watch without worrying about my kids. (Texting with my adult children throughout the day as they too were watching from their homes was reassuring.) I was thinking about all the children who were at home, engaged in remote learning or perhaps just playing while their parents were trying to work but also keeping an eye on the day’s events.
Our children always hear more, see more, and know more than we think they do. They hear us talking with our friends and family while we think they are playing and distracted, and they see things on television and their devices without our knowledge.
It is important that we talk with our children about the current events. With our younger children, keep talk about the events to a minimum. Try to keep your own emotions calm and reassuring, and present a strong, confident attitude. If they do want to talk about things they are hearing, offer a very basic explanation, and then provide reassurance that your family is safe, and that the adults will handle things.
With our tweens and teens, you might want to bring up the issue yourself. Ask them what they have heard, and what they know, and share your opinions, your feelings, and your confidence that things will get better and that your family is safe.
And as always, take care of yourself first. If you are not strong and confident, you cannot help your kids to be strong and confident. So pay attention to your own needs. It’s okay to turn away from the news, to do take out for dinner a few nights, to take a break alone in your room when you need one. It’s necessary to put your needs first, so you can be available to care for your children’s needs.
These are unprecedented times; the raging pandemic, the violence in DC, the uncertainty of what’s next, the inability to plan ahead. It’s tough right now. I’m talking every day with parents who are confused and concerned, but are still doing an awesome job of supporting their families as they always have. Please reach out if you feel like talking; I’m here for you.