Fear In The Theater: Talking With Your Kids | Parenting
As the news of the fatal midnight shootings during a first release showing of the latest Batman Dark Night movie series circulates, parents should take the time to talk with their kids about the incident.
Since movie going is a common activity during the hazy days and sultry nights of summer especially among tweens and teens, parents should be aware of the impact this tragic news may have upon their kids.
In response it is recommended that parents talk with their kids about the incomprehensible incident. Here are some suggested guidelines:
1.) Carefully check-in with your kids. Younger children will probably be completely unaware of the events. If this is the case, leave well enough alone unless they ask. Your older kids especially your tweens and teens may be more aware and interested. Because the tragedy transpired at a well known and anticipated showing of a popular movie series, they may be talking more about the incident than if it occurred in another venue such as a college or workplace.
2.) Ensure accuracy by going over the known details with your kids. Rumors and embellishments can cause unnecessary ruminations.
3.) Let your kids express their thoughts, fears, concerns and emotions about the event. Try not to interrupt them even if you are trying to offer reassurance or comfort. Your kids could take an interruption as an indication that expressing these things is not something you want to hear.
4.) Be sure you are in touch with your own thoughts, feelings, and concerns. Your kids often take their cues from you; if you have intense reactions they may react in kind.
5.) Carefully consider their requests without over reaction. It is not uncommon for events such as this one to have more of an immediate impact on adults than on kids. This is often the case with tweens and teens because developmentally they often believe in the 'illusion of invulnerability,' the idea that bad things only happen to other people. If your kids, for example, ask to go to the movies or the mall, be aware of your own reactions. Keep in mind that although devastating and quite tragic, the incident itself was random and unpredictable.
Tragedies such as this one can put a damper on an enjoyable summer pastime such as going to a movie. As devastating and difficult as it can be to deal with such events, we are best keeping in mind FDR's famous observation: "We have nothing to fear but fear itself."
Our thoughts and prayers will of course be with the victims and their families.
The stories of heroism related to this event are already being reported in the news.
This incident is indeed a reminder that, although we may live in trying times, kindness, concern, caring and sacrifice for others is still alive and well. What a lovely lesson to teach to and highlight for our children.
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Jennifer Powell-Lunder and Barbara Greenberg are authors of the hit book, "Teenage as a Second Language: A Parent's Guide to Becoming Bilingual." They've set up an interactive website for parents and teens to listen, learn and discuss hot topics and daily dilemmas. You can find it at www.talkingteenage.com.