How Informed Should You Keep Your Young Kids on Current Affairs? And Why?

BY: - 7 Dec '16 | Parenting

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The question of whether or not to inform your young children about current affairs is a very personal and sensitive question and one that I always ask myself when it comes to my own children.

Initially my reaction was that I want my “kids to be kids,” meaning I wanted them to live in innocence and remain blissfully ignorant to the realities of society. I didn’t want to burden them with knowledge they are not prepared nor mature enough to process and understand.

But at the same time, I felt angry that, as a mother of color, I had to have certain conversations with my children that my white mom friends do not have to have with their children (though they should), like #BlackLivesMatter, police brutality and violence, and what it means for marginalized groups (i.e. African Americans, Latinos, women, immigrants, Muslims, other religious minorities, the LGBTQ community, the disabled/handicapped community,and many others), when a person like Donald Trump is elected to the most powerful position in the world.

Then, I listened to my children and realized they are a lot more aware of what is going on. Even under the age of 10, they were capable of understanding more than I gave them credit for. And it was then, I realized I needed to have these conversations with them right away.

The main reason I decided to talk to them about current affairs was because I wanted to be the one to help guide them in their understanding of what’s going on. I wanted to be the one to principally shape their ideas about the world around them rather than strangers who do not necessarily share the same value system or beliefs as my family.

Approaching these conversations is not always easy, because if you have a “deep thinker” like I do, you might have to do some probing to get the conversation going.  Here are a few ways to approach current affairs conversations with young children that have worked for me:

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Practice the Conversation

Think about what you want to say before you actually speak to your children.  Talk to close friends with children about what you want to say and even “practice” the conversation with your friends before speaking to the kids.

Find the Right Time

This might be after dinner, during bath time or while making the next day’s lunch.  The “right-time” is a time and place where your children can be the center of your attention and where outside distractions are limited.

Ask Them What They Know Already

For example, when the police shoot another innocent person, a bomb is set off in another country or Donald Trump makes another abhorrent remark, ask them “What have you heard about this?  What do you think about this?” Then listen fully before jumping in.

Tell the Truth

Explain the facts as you understand them. With young children, you do not need to go into graphic detail just give enough information so they understand the message you are trying to convey.   Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know.” Sometimes the best and only answer to the question is “I don’t know.”

Share Your Feelings with Your Child

Don’t be fooled and think your children don’t know what is going on with you. They are constantly watching you and taking their cues from you. Therefore, it is okay, and good even, to acknowledge your feelings with your children.  By sharing your feelings with them, your children get a chance to see that even though upset, you can pull yourself together and continue on. This is an important lesson for them in facing upsets and disappointments in their own lives.

Reassure Them

When the conversation ends, reassure your children that you will do everything you can to keep them safe and informed.  Reassure them that you are always there and open to answer any questions or to talk about this topic (and others) again in the future.  Finally and most importantly, reassure them that they are loved.

I hope these tips give you a starting point to discussing current affairs, especially the tougher but important issues with your young children.  Good luck and happy conversations!!

BMWK, what conversation would you avoid talking to young children about? What current affairs, news and conversations should young children hear?

About the author

Lia Miller wrote 23 articles on this blog.

Lia Miller is an every woman, in that she does and is interested in a lot of things. Lia is a wife and mother, ambitious/career focused individual, writer and award winning blogger, do-it-yourself loc’d naturalista, foodie, avid reader, movie buff, sports enthusiast, passionate about music, dance, and the arts, news junkie, advocate for the underdog/under-represented, with an incurable bug for traveling and exploring the world. Lia is also a clinical social worker with a concentration in children, relationships, and family dynamics. Lia’s focus is to find and share how to get the best out of life by living fully, loving hard, and always learning.

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I’m 48 and Expecting…and I’m Not Quite Sure How I Feel About It

BY: - 9 Dec '16 | Parenting

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Can you believe it? I’m 48 and expecting—but not like you may think. I’m expecting a daughter-in-law (a daughter-in-love). Our family is growing. In just one more day, there will be another Mills.

It’s a huge deal for the excited couple. But let me tell you, it’s a huge deal for me, too. I’m not quite sure how to feel. And I’m just being 100 perfect honest. I’m excited for them. I love them both.

I have been the mother of three children for the last 28 years—as a matter of fact 29 years next month. It is challenging for me to think of my son, not just being my son but also being someone’s husband.

He’s already a daddy and a darn good one. But there is something different about him getting married. I can’t even explain it. This is new for me, but with two more kids, I might have to go through this two more times.

To set the record straight, I’m proud of my son. He has grown to be a fabulous man and a wonderful father. I know he will be a fantastic husband. I’m not against his marriage. He and his bride-to-be have been together for about five years, and they have a 3-year-old daughter together. They are both fabulous parents.

So why am I having a hard time? Really, I’m asking because I can’t put my finger on it. What are your thoughts?

It’s funny because my son told me that in pre-marital counseling the recent topic was “mothers and their sons.” My, my, my…I love all three of my kids. Yes, I’m attached to them. When the children were growing up, I wasn’t a helicopter mom. I allowed them to grow into their own without trying to change their destiny. We raised our kids to be independent, live on their own and some day raise their own families. Mercy, it just seemed to come so quickly.

My son and his bride

My son and his bride

Listen, don’t anybody leave a comment and tell me, “I’m gaining a daughter and not losing a son.” I don’t feel like I’m losing my son. As a mom, I’m entitled to feel a little strange. This is new. It’s a first.

I’m proud of the fact that our family is growing. But for some reason, it brings me to tears. These are the same tears I cried when he was born, the first day of school and when we dropped him off at college. I guess you could say I’m just a crier.

How many moms would admit they feel this way? Well, I’m admitting it. I’m not ashamed. Once the wedding is over, I’ll go back to feeling like my old self I’m sure. But for right now somebody pray. So, yes, in just a few more hours, I’m expecting. I’m expecting a new daughter—but not just a daughter-in-law but a daughter-in-love.

BMWK, are there any mothers who have been through this? How did you feel? Why do you think you felt it? What advice could you give me?

 

About the author

Deborah L. Mills wrote 183 articles on this blog.

Coach, AUTHOR, Speaker, WIFE, Mom, and GRANDMOTHER. That's the gist of who I am. I love people and love to see their life and relationships thrive. As a coach I am ready to support your dream when you don't feel like it. As an author and speaker I am ready to pour into your life so that you can live your best life now. I am a personal and executive coach. Together with my husband I also marriage coach. GO TO MY WEBSITE. THERE IS A FREE GIFT THERE WAITING FOR YOU. http://bit.ly/2deborahlmills

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