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Lost innocence

(17 Posts)
gillogg Fri 20-Nov-15 14:23:55

My G.D recently ( inadvertently) saw a news item about the Paris terrorist attack. She is only 5 and it has really been playing on her mind. She can't sleep and asks whether these bad people can find her.She also asked how they would be dressed and whether they are near her.
My son has tried to answer honestly and simply but how can he reassure her that her family will be safe. He was really upset that she has been thrown into reality and having to face things that even adults find difficult to deal with.
Any ideas as to how he can deal with this awful situation?

soontobe Fri 20-Nov-15 15:15:01

It probably depends on what sort of child she is.

Does she live in a city? If not, I think her chances of being safe are 100%.

gillogg Fri 20-Nov-15 15:16:54

She is very sensitive and lives in a city.

soontobe Fri 20-Nov-15 15:22:12


There have been a few discussions on mumsnet I think.

I did find this one, which might help.

ninathenana Fri 20-Nov-15 16:26:18

Interesting as the Mumsnet link is I'm not sure it will help. They are discussing how to talk to children about the various attacks. It seems gilloggs DGD has had it all sensitively and age appropriately explained but is still concerned.
Apart from repeated reassurance I think you just have to give her time.

Leticia Fri 20-Nov-15 17:19:39

You just have to point out that most people are good but you always get a very few bad people. Then you have to reassure that we have the police, army etc who are very good at keeping us safe and stopping the bad people.

Luckygirl Fri 20-Nov-15 17:27:45

My DGSs stayed overnight on Monday and we kept the TV and radio switched off; especially as their parents were away and we did not want them to worry that they might not return.

I have had email conversations with the BEEB about the graphic nature of some of their news coverage at 6 pm. They defend their stance by saying that people have the right to know what is happening and, somewhat obtusely, seem to be unable to also grasp the idea that adults can top up on all the horror they need at 10 pm, whilst preserving the innocence of children at 6 pm.

I think that all that can be done is to reassure her that this happened a long way away and that she is surrounded by kind people who love her. Hopefully what she has seen will fade in her mind over time.

Personally I would have answered her question at that age by just saying it was a silly story and not real - a white lie I know, but defensible I feel.

vampirequeen Fri 20-Nov-15 17:52:10

I would have told her that there are bad people in the world but that there are far more good people just like at school there will be some children who are naughty but most are well behaved.

I would also have said that sometimes bad things happen but that doesn't mean anything bad will happen to her or anyone she loves. Put it into her concept level again. When someone falls in the playground does that mean that she will fall over?

Lillie Fri 20-Nov-15 21:17:00

I have in possession a leaflet which offers advice for French parents when talking about the Paris attacks with their children. It suggests reminding the children that they are perfectly safe in their own homes and in their schools. It also says the children shouldn't be afraid to talk about the events and that adults are equally shocked.
The final paragraph goes on to say that the best way to respond to this violence is to carry on living as normal a life as possible.
Hope this gives some ideas.

Elrel Fri 20-Nov-15 21:24:23

Leticia and Vampirequeen, I so agree with you and have been telling GC this for a while. So many children have become suspicious and scared of everyone outside their immediate circle over the last 10-20 years.

M0nica Fri 20-Nov-15 23:28:41

I would tell a child that there have always been bad people in the world. There were bad people when their Mummy and Daddy were small (mine grew up in the shadow of the bomb) and when Grandma and Grandpa were small (we were both born during WW2). Nothing had ever happened to us or any of our friends and relatives, so nothing was likely to happen to them.

And that is exactly what DS told DGD, aged 8, when she too asked questions about last week's events. She found this re-assuring.

What I would never do is not answer DGC's question or tell a lie. I would always tell the truth, but temper what I said and how much I said, to the child's age, knowledge and temperament.

JamJar1 Sat 21-Nov-15 00:10:52

Like Luckygirl I don't watch the news while my two young GC are here.
DD and her OH only watch TV when the children are in bed. With today's rolling news and 24 hour coverage and no holds barred approach I think it's just too much for a young child.

JamJar1 Sat 21-Nov-15 00:27:28

Posted accidentally, meant to add, gillogg I hope your GD's is beginning to feel safer and the memories are fading. However she inadvertently saw the news it only needs a few seconds to leave an imprint and no one should blame themselves. Your GD is obviously a very thoughtful, caring and sensitive little girl.

Lillie Sat 21-Nov-15 01:18:33

I think MOnica's idea of telling the child that Grandma and Grandma lived through unsettled times is excellent. Grandparents are often the right people to alleviate fear, so maybe gillogg could have a down to earth chat.

I am a teacher in London, and I know that most children quickly move on from such atrocious events while at the same time keeping a watchful eye on the behaviour of their elders. And yes, sadly it is being thrown into reality at a young age. I have also seen many children of services personnel accept the situation and get on with their lives as normal, provided their fear can be removed.

I hope gillogg's G.D. recovers over the weekend.

Leticia Sat 21-Nov-15 07:25:09

I would never lie- that is far more frightening when they find out that it was a lie. They need reassurance that the adults who love them are in charge. They are also less frightened if they know that you will always answer questions and take them seriously.
MOnica has a very good way. My mother was working in a big city hospital in WW2 and never bothered going into a shelter in an air raid, after the first time - she said she couldn't work without sleep!

Leticia Sat 21-Nov-15 08:33:58

A lovely reply by a father to his 4 yr old son in Paris- ' they have guns but we have flowers' - on breakfast TV just now.

durhamjen Sat 21-Nov-15 11:44:40

Might be some ideas here.
One day last week my grandson and I decided we were only going to read the good things in the paper. It did not take long to read.