There are some very uncomfortable truths we have to face about our society. One such truth is that hatred exists. Hatred is what led to the mass murder of 49 people at Pulse Orlando nightclub in Florida. Omar Mateen walked into the club frequented mostly by black and latino gays and lesbians. Was his motive rooted in Islamic extremism? Was it homophobia? Perhaps both? We don’t yet know the answers to those questions. We do know that he was under the influence of hatred and bigotry whatever the root cause.
Naturally as parents, we want to shield our children from the knowledge of violence that seems plague our society. Unfortunately we cannot shield them from it nor can we afford to ignore it. Any child with access to a television or the internet has heard about the Orlando shooting. Just in case you think they are only made aware about mass shootings from the media, think again. Ask your child what a lockdown drill is. Many schools across the country have implemented this type of drill in recent years. Consider the story of the Michigan mom that took a seemingly innocent photo of her preschooler standing on a toilet:
Stacey Wehrman Feeley from Traverse City, Michigan took a photo of her little girl standing on top of the toilet to send to her husband, thinking she was being mischievous. But she ‘broke down’ when her daughter explained she was in fact practicing the lockdown drill she’d been taught at preschool in the event of a gun attack.
Not only are your children preparing for the possibility of a fire but for a gunman as well. This is the new world we are living in. What exactly is the best way to talk to our children about the dangers in society? Dr. Erica Marchand, a Psychologist in Private Practice in Los Angeles, was gracious enough to offer some valuable advice for parents.
I asked her what would be the best way to approach a heavy topic such as the Orlando shooting with our children:
See the complete article on our sister site, Beyond Black & White Kids.