Should we tell the children?

How much have you told the children?’ I was asked at the end of last week as I read the front page of The Times newspaper.

I shrugged. I had managed to ensure that neither of my Smalls had heard a peep about the terrorist shooting at Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris. I honestly had no idea how to broach the subject.

But I wondered if I was wrong: should they know a little of this atrocity? Just to begin to understand how wrong and evil co-exist with us in this strange, sometimes disturbing world?

Listening to the radio and flicking through their weekly issue of First News, our 10 and almost 9 year old do take a healthy interest in world news. But a volcano erupting on the island of Tonga is much easier for them to grasp than these acts of terrorism. Or maybe some news items are just easier for us, as parents, to rationalize?

A positive message might have been to have told them about the million people who marched through Paris demonstrating how the world will stand united again terrorism. Or I could have focused on the importance of freedom of speech. But instead I shied away. Because there just aren’t enough answers as to why twelve innocent people had to die.

This column first appeared in The Lady where I am their Mum About Town.

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