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It seems that alot of people are teaching their young children (3-7) about current events. I have always kind of sheltered my children from them unless they directly asked, but now I am beginning to think that is the wrong thing to do. So, my question is, how do you teach your children about current events without overwhelming them with negative information? I'd love to hear any thoughts on this.
 

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I try to be honest but not overwhelm them. My kids know that there is a war in Iraq and they can find Iraq on a map, but we don't talk about it much and I do try to shield of them from the images. One of my nephews is over there and they helped me get a package together for him, but my DH and I are carefully about what we say in front of the kids.

Other things, like taxes, the environment, the election, the economy, should our city build a new arena, etc my DH and I talk about freely in front of the kids and encourage them to join in or ask questions. We just tread very lightly when it comes to death.

My girls were 3 and 4 when 9/11 happened and they saw the images on TV and heard the constant talk. I wish that I had sheltered them more as it was overwelming for them and they did develop fears -- for a while even seeing a plane in the sky caused my older DD to panic -- what if it had terrorist in it? What if they killed everyone on board? What if they flew it into our house? She didn't need to deal with all that at 4.
 

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i don't think any of us could avoid discussing sept 11th with our kids. we didn't even have a tv then but our oldest saw pictures on the front page as we walked to the busstop, heard discussions, and we had friends tell of their experiences there when it happened. it was rough, and shortly thereafter we had to stop listening to NPR if we were in the car because the kids started asking what a terrorist was, etc. i don't mind now if they ask me what it means to be homeless or why pbs has an amber alert, who would take a child, etc, because i think they need to know this kind of stuff eventually and i think it can make them more responsible citizens and more empathetic and sympathetic.

we don't watch the news even when their sleeping because we tend to agree with michael moore's statement that the news coverage is shaped in a way in this country to make us live in fear. it is possibly one of those factors that leads to more and more violence so focusing on the worst stories isn't even acceptable to me as an adult, much less a child. i didn't even hear about that horrible pregnant lady being murdered and baby stolen until grandma told me. i'd never explain that to a seven year old, of course. i don't even want to know. how does that help me?

war is different. our children have friends who are in military families and minimal discussion is necessary.

we watched the democratic and republican national conventions and debates with our children, took them to vote, and had discussions about the election coverage. ds1 (age 6.5) asked his teacher for whom she would vote and when she said bush he announced that he believed he had made a lot of mistakes and he was voting for kerry. i thought for a first grader that was pretty funny, but a few months later when election time came, all the first graders were vocal about who they would vote for (probably same as parents i assume).

i'll be watching for how people balance the necessary childhood innocence with an awareness of the world around.

good question!
 

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to clarify,
i didn't mean to minimize the tragic pregnant woman story, and i was calling the incident not her horrible.

i don't think we need to hear only about the stories that HELP is either.

sorry that was unclear...................
 

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We were honest but sensitive to their own personal levels of comfort when they were younger. Now, at ages 13 and 11, we speak totally freely in front of then and they are often part of the conversation. 9/11 was one of those things that really had to be talked about in one way or the other ya know?
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by fromscatteredtribe
i didn't even hear about that horrible pregnant lady being murdered and baby stolen until grandma told me. i'd never explain that to a seven year old, of course.
My Dh and I read a lot of our news on-line rather than watch it on TV. We get news from British and American sources as well as other countries from time to time. The reason we do this is so we can stay better informed and get a bigger picture. It has some real perks, though, in terms of limiting what our kids are exposed to. He came across a story about the pregnant woman and then showed it to me. We didn't discuss this in front of our kids. If we come across a story we think might interested them, we can show it to them (hey, kids, look, there is a story about a whale!)

I am sort of glad that my kids already know about 9/11 because if they didn't I would have to tell them about.

We tried to get them to watch the debates and conventions with us, but they got bored and made a lot of noise
 

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We generally don't discuss or even allow the kids to watch the news. Unless it's something we feel they need to know because peers will be discussing it. Such as... the recent election , 9-11 , etc... When it comes to horror news stories (such as the pregnant lady who was recently murdered) we don't mention those at all. Some things are just to horrific to repeat to small children.

When it comes to local news , we get that from the newspaper and will talk about an issue if we feel it's relevant to the kids. (like their favorite park being torn down to build a shopping center).
 

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our kids know what is going on in the world because they are there with me, as we go to drop off food at the food pantry, we work in our Church's clothes closet helping outfit families that need stuff when they come in, they know too many animals at waiting at the animal shelter we go to & that they get put to sleep if not adopted, we also see homeless street people every day, even we go to the grocery store there is always a vet there that has no legs asking for change, sits in his chair by the door, can't avoid that, they know about the economy because of my dh's job and understand budgeting money, we get world news and US news magazines and they are certainly welcome to look as they wish

they read now, so they read the bumperstickers and ask me about why people hate the president, they see the billboards, they see all the new housing tracts as we drive the expressway, they know as we drive to cc that we will pass a dairy farm and it stinks so they have learned about perc in milk and pollution they see abortion info literature at Church they have watched friends & families divide up during divorce
kids have been to funerals every year for friends and family members, they went to the hospice to dance & sing for people
they love the songs out by jibjab online and can tell you which person is which pictured & why & significance of the 3 purple hearts Kerry holds out
i don't think you can shield kids that much unless you live in a quiet suburb & restict their interactions with people you have preselected

if they are observant & are out interacting with the world and if parents answer honestly their questions - nothing wrong with that, we do natural consequences in our house

i think it is good to allow your children to ask you about the things they see and to allow them to be an equal partner in their world
kids can make a difference, they can work for environmental change, they are powerfully motivated and true to heart most importantly they are not bitter like many adults and believe in themselves & their energy

i think it is not good for kids to see scenes of violence repeatedly on TV or in games, but in real life they will see their world as it is and children need to be able to make observations with adults being supportive of them and not sugarcoating

to me that is like dumbing down life to make your kids see only bits
there is beauty in brokeness sorry to ramble so much i am typing in a hurry holding onto a small person
 

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my problem isn't the real life stuff (like talking about the homeless you meet; or my two-year old knowing what monster.com is before he can read because dh is job-searching yet again). it sounds like vanna'smom has the right idea. way to go. i think living that way might be harder here than it was in chicago, but we can be intentional.

what i will argue is that the news as it is presented to us most often in written and television form is not real life. it is not a representation of reality for most of us. the violence is exaggerated and the good stuff is shoved back. the war and political motives from an american perspective is emphasized and the global realities, the lives of the poor and distressed, and the important political issues are gloosed over. so frustrating.
 
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