Are your kids worried about Boston bombing, North Korea?

For the last few weeks my 9-year-old has been very concerned about North Korea bombing America. He keeps asking me about the possible missiles the North Koreans have to deliver their nuclear devices. I keep telling him not to worry, but I can remember worrying in the 1980s about the Soviet Union attacking us as well. I understand what he’s feeling.

I worked hard on Monday to keep him away the news about Boston. I kept shooing him out of the room as I was trying to watch and read coverage on my computer. I didn’t want to add another potentially scary prospect to his analytical and imaginative mind. I can fairly easily tell him the North Koreans can’t reach America. It’s pretty hard to say that about terrorists when they’ve just blown up a marathon route in a major city. (If he hadn’t been so concerned about North Korea I probably would have at least told him about Boston. I mentioned it passing today to Rose. But I just didn’t want to stress the poor kid out!)

A friend suggested that I not let him watch the news. I told her he’s finding it himself on the Internet.

Another friend said she thinks that he pays extra attention to news because both of his parents are involved in the business and are talking about it at home.  I’m not sure that’s it.

So I am wondering: Are your kids tuned into the news? Are they watching it on TV? Are the reading articles on the Internet? Does it make them worry? Are they aware of what happened in Boston on Monday? Are they concerned about North Korea lobbing nuclear warheads at us? How aware are they of what is happening in the world?

Do you try to hide some news from your kids? Do you try to discuss it or frame it?

47 comments Add your comment

Jarod G

April 16th, 2013
1:06 am

Well I 20 years old so I don’t have kids haha but I can tell you that I have always been interested in the news ever since I was young, I don’t exactly remember the ‘96 bombings in Atlanta (I think my parents kept it from me) but I do remember 9/11 in detail. I used to watch the news every chance I could and I was a bit worried about getting attacked at any moment. Boston reminded me of 9/11 and all of my little child-like memories came back, I remember feeling scared but at the same time I felt like there would be some consequences and that the good would prevail over the evil. I am slightly worried about North Korea, I have been looking at news about them about 20 times every day, I do know that they can’t reach us but I am not scared for me, but for the people that they can hurt; South Korea, Japan etc. I do remember being kept from some news about what was happening in the world when I was young, but after 9/11 that pretty much stopped. I was eight years old about to turn nine, I am pretty sure my parents wanted me to start to take a bit of an interest in the world at that point in time.

So I guess if I had kids and this or something similar was going on I would only tell them about it depending on their age/maturity. I would try to discuss it and not hide the truth as much…but this does come from a 20 year old who doesn’t know what it is like to be a parent to a child.

Hope this helps out.

daniel

April 16th, 2013
1:28 am

Im a kid and I live in NZ so im not to scared about NK but I suggest you tell him and explain to him

daniel

April 16th, 2013
1:28 am

Im a kid and I live in NZ so im not to scared about NK but I suggest you tell him and explain to him. a

[...] Rodman returning to North Korea ‘to just hang and have some fun’ Globe and Mail Are your kids worried about Boston bombing, North Korea? Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) Daily Beast -Sioux Falls Argus Leader -Detroit Free Press [...]

Maja

April 16th, 2013
4:05 am

Hiding things like this from kids are only going to make them more afraid. This will be discussed everywhere and your kid is going to hear it. Instead of hearing things from overdramatic people, ask your kid if he wants to talk about it but let him ask you the questions. Don’t give him more information than he wants to know. Try to keep it simple, I’m sure your explanations and thoughts will be good enough.

A Realist

April 16th, 2013
5:14 am

What? No racial topic in the blog today?

bgb

April 16th, 2013
5:21 am

Boston Marathon Bombing Provides AJC Columnists With Inspiration to Write Today’s Crappy Sentences About Something other than Barbie, Film at 11

“So I wondering: Are your kids tuned into the news?”

Spell/Grammar check function must be a Phd level course at UGA.

Jeff

April 16th, 2013
5:43 am

h, I don’t thing our kids are amore worried than we were about Russia back in the day. It crossed my mind, we talked about it and jokes about it like anyone else, to as soon as the hot girl came down the hall, our interests went to that.

Mother of 2

April 16th, 2013
6:22 am

My kids are older, so they aren’t worried about North Korea bombing the US, but they are concerned that the North Koreans have the ability to upset the fine balance in Asia.

With respect to the bombings in Boston, both are stunned that someone would want to harm people running and watching a marathon. Military targets are easier for them to comprehend. My younger son said that what really bothers him is the fact that those killed may have had so much promise, but that is now gone. He is a high school student and is in the throes of looking at various colleges.

We’ve been talking about the positives as much as possible. We both love the cartoon this morning showing runners crossing the finish line and heading to donate blood.

A reader

April 16th, 2013
6:50 am

No, my kid is worried about the threat made against her high school today. Why worry about violence thousands of miles away when the threat of violence is at our door step.

FCM

April 16th, 2013
7:56 am

My ex was stationed at a FOB in Iraq and Afganistan during the height of the war. He was a Radar O’Reilly MO so he was not always in direct conflict. However, he had patrols and other things that did put him in harms way on occassion. At the time my children were 5 & 7 so I did not watch the news when they were in the room. I did not allow the pictures of their Dad with the assult rifle to be shown to them. They knew there was a war, they knew Dad was a solider, and they knew that danger could happen. They also knew we cannot focus on the danger all the time…we have to appreciate what we have now.

Horrible things happen at any time. A 4th grade boy in my daughter’s school got the flu and died in a matter of days. Brothers and Dads undergo heart surgery and worry the whole family. It is all part of life.

I think because I choose to not overload them but also not to hide LIFE from them they are better people. They are more likely to empathize with victims. They have compassion. They do for others.

My children are aware of NK. I agree with Jeff that is much like Russia in our day. It is of concern but we cannot stop living because of it.

I did discuss Boston Bombings with children. They were shocked an 8 yo was killed. We watched some on the news. We will discuss their concerns. We will pray for those affected.

TWG discuss it with the kids. They are getting old enough to know that this kind of thing happens.

Metro Coach

April 16th, 2013
7:56 am

Why are people stunned that terrorists want to attack innocent civilians instead of military targets? By definition terrorists are cowards who are too scared to fight a real war, so they attack civilian targets. The reason the US hasn’t put these goat molesting lunatics out of business yet is because our leaders keep trying to fight a traditional war against an enemy who refuses to fight/can’t win a traditional war. When we start fighting their style of war(small insurgencies, well placed attacks designed to create chaos) we will win the war. Until then, we’re just fooling ourselves into thinking this war will be won in Afghanistan and other parts of the ME.

Metro Coach

April 16th, 2013
7:58 am

My previous post was not directed at the soldiers fighting on the ground. They are doing their jobs, and doing them extremely well. Our leaders are the ones who need to get a grip on the situation.

jarvis

April 16th, 2013
8:19 am

bgb, Thanks for your daily contribution. You can check this box.

Now onto the surfing porn in your parent’s basement and then off to killing Grunts with your buddies. Have you seen the Turtle Beach Ear Force X42 headset? It’s like being there.

Go outside. Meet a girl. See a breast.

motherjanegoose

April 16th, 2013
8:23 am

My daughter called me yesterday afternoon and asked me if I had seen the news. I had not. She is in college and obviously more aware of things.

I cannot fathom the evil hearts of some people. I wonder about those ( here) who show disrespect to military and police forces. When things like this happen, we need trained personnel.

I was in school during Viet Nam. The difference was the media. We were not bombarded with it. I remembered hearing about a fellow student whose older brother was fighting. That brought it into perspective. My FIL was career military and so my husband grew up in that type of family. He was Navy when we were first married and before the kids were born. I saw and heard much I had no idea about, as my family was not military.

Yes, there are terrible things happening every day. My daughter has a good friend ( at college) whose Mom has stomach cancer and she is in hospice. It grieves my heart for this girl. She is very sweet and has gone on vacation with us and visited us too. Her Dad lives out of state and she is not terribly close to him. I am wondering what, if anything, I can do. Her Mom is remarried and lives about an 70 miles from us. We met her once. Anyone have advice? Thank you.

Edd

April 16th, 2013
8:23 am

keep wrapping them up in cotton wool then release them to the world at the age of 18 and wonder why the fail at life so badly.
EDUCATE YOUR CHILDREN ABOUT REALITY.

motherjanegoose

April 16th, 2013
8:24 am

My post evaporated.

Jeff

April 16th, 2013
8:32 am

You know, we could use a lot more women like the ones here; FCM, MJG, Cat, you guys are awesome. you keep me believing there are great people and great women.

jarvis

April 16th, 2013
8:33 am

Thankfully my children take after me in that area. They are not worriers. We leave that up to my wife in our household.

Can you do anything about North Korea? No. Then don’t worry about it.

As for the bombing….horribly tragic. Nothing more cowardly than hurting innocent people to get a platform to spew hate.

But we can’t live our lives in fear. I tell my children all of the time, “Be brave. Nothing good has ever come from fear.”

We all have moments of fear in our lives, but only cowards let it dictate them. Remember the people that have been hurt and grieve for their families. But keep living.

Techmom

April 16th, 2013
8:36 am

My son was more concerned about the Boston bombing yesterday than N.Korea. We did talk about N.Korea this week though as my parents are in town and my dad was stationed in Korea at one point during his Air Force career. There’s a way to teach your kids about the world without making them fearful of everything.

@TWG, I’m sure your kids are over educated due to both parents being in the news business. That’s fine as long as he isn’t to the point of needed Xanax to make it through the day. Most parents are proud that their kids take on one of their interests.

FCM

April 16th, 2013
8:44 am

@ Jeff…thank you. I appreciate the many men (you, jarvis, scooby) that contribute here. There are good men/women/parents out there.

owen O'Neill

April 16th, 2013
9:04 am

God bless al people with love in their hearts,the real enemy in our world comes from the Rothschilds etc,they love warand the sooner children understand who the real boogiemen are the better.

American Exceptionalism

April 16th, 2013
9:11 am

Yesterday was a complete tragedy. Violence against others is absolutely wrong except for defending oneself, but sadly as the old saying goes “terrorism is the war of the poor, war is the terrorism of the rich.” This world is stained by the actions of many that unfortunately result in the responses of others.

It is shameful how much attention Americans give to incidents at home while blatantly ignoring the thousands of innocent men, women, and children that have been blown up by our president and his drone strikes in Pakistan and other countries (Bush too). This explosions have been at weddings, schools, and other places where people were gathered for something completely other than attacking America. What do Pakistani parents tell their children after they have seen other children murdered for absolutely no reason? How do they explain the insanity of our foreign policy? Their country is supposed to be our ally in the war on terror. Their country has never attacked us. We have never declared war on them.

In the days and weeks that follow this horrible event, look inside yourself and ask what you have done to work against the senseless violence that fuels global hatred against US foreign policy. If your children at least know that you are working for the right things, maybe they can take some comfort in that. If you don’t think the deaths of thousands of Afghani, Iraqi, Pakistani, Yemeni, Somali, etc. kids matter then I am without words.

Cammi317

April 16th, 2013
9:12 am

North Korea has been a big topic in my household because my youngest brother has been living in South Korea for the past two years, teaching. My daughter and I call him and he tells us that it is more or less ‘business as usual” in South Korea because they are used to the threats coming from the North. They basically think North Korea is full of it. Of course, over here, all we can think is maybe this time they are not bluffing.

With regard to the terrible tragedy in Boston, she did not even know it occurred until after her soccer game last night. I told her, but chose not to watch broadcast tv for the remainder of the night. I don’t like how they keep replaying those videos for ratings. They can relay the information without all of that. We discussed it again this morning on the way to school and she shook her head and sadly said “people are crazy”.

The first thing I said yesterday after the shock wore off was “this is some home grown mess”. I still believe it. Foreign terrorists like to attack us when we are unsuspecting and going about our daily lives. Organized events have too much police presence. Yesterday was Tax Day and Patriots Day…days that only have significance to us Americans. I was watching the news this morning and it was pointed out that the month of April is notorious for home grown terrorist attacks….most notably – Waco, Oklahoma City and Columbine. In this case, as would be expected, the first thing people in the crowd pointed to was an injured Saudi National because they thought that he was “acting suspicious”. He was been cleared and released and no foreigners have attempted to take credit, which they LOVE to do. This terrible tragedy has all the markings of homegrown buffoonery.

Cammi317

April 16th, 2013
9:16 am

My comment seems to have disappeared…I don’t know why. There was nothing that should have alarmed the filters within it….

Marticka

April 16th, 2013
10:07 am

I think you should let your nine-year-old know about the bombing yesterday. North Korea, that’s who I blame. Let him know that it might not have been North Korea; we don’t know who exactly was responsible. As my Grandpa said, “It very well could have been Home Grown Terrorists.” Which is more of scary thought than NK. An communist country? We can handle that. Home grown? I don’t think we could. We can never get them all.

motherjanegoose

April 16th, 2013
10:09 am

Thanks Jeff. I wish my comment today would show up. I do not have time to retype as I am out the door to see children. I sent TWG an e-mail but she may be busy.

DB

April 16th, 2013
10:25 am

Not addressing it gives it power — great power — because it becomes something that is “too big or too scary” to deal with. It needs to be out in the bright light of day, where it can be examined and put into perspective. He’s not stupid — he knows about it. Choosing not to discuss it means he has no outlet for his fears or concerns, which only causes them to grow.

My “kids” are 22 and 24. My oldest enjoys running, and we were talking about it last night — in fact, he’s the one that texted me to tell me about it, as I was out running errands when it happened. He’s running a lower-profile marathon in a couple of weeks, but we both speculated on the effect of something like that at the Peachtree on July 4th, where you have twice as many people in a small, defined area, or something like the Marine Corps Marathon in D.C. in the fall.

I saw something on Facebook yesterday that I really liked — most of you have probably already seen it, but for those of you who haven’t, it’s a quote from Mr. Rogers, of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. He said that when he saw scary things happening on TV, that made his world seem out of control, his mother would tell him, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” And sure enough, in any disaster, there are always more people who show the good in humanity, the positive and the caring side than there are those who harm. One guy with a pipe bomb caused chaos. But hundreds, if not thousands, rushed to help.

They will catch him, sooner or later. And he will face the consequences of his cowardly actions. But to permit the actions of one coward to turn us all into cowards is giving a crazy coward too much control over our lives, and that is something I categorically refuse.

catlady

April 16th, 2013
10:28 am

Thank you, Jeff. Not sure why you mentioned me, but I agree the other two make terrific contributions.

I came up during the Cold War. We lived in Florida during the Cuban missile crisis, Bay of Pigs, etc. We practiced atomic bomb drills at school. We had as our mantra, “Florida is too close for either side to do harm.” My uncle had a clothing store in Havana FL. I kept thinking that he was in danger with all the trouble in Havana, Cuba. I was worried sick for weeks until my parents saw me drooping around and found out why. And, of course, I followed the Kennedy assassinations. As a teen, the nightly news was on the loss of life in Viet Nam.

I limited my kids’ TV time in general. They were allowed to watch very little. And the TV was off the rest of the time. With current events, I talked to them, and listened to them, and answered their questions, but they did not watch hours of TV casually.

The world we live in has many folks who are evil. I am praying for those in Boston.

missnadine

April 16th, 2013
10:57 am

You definitely are NOT part of the news business as you state.

Stacey

April 16th, 2013
11:56 am

My 12 year old is worried about North Korea and the bombings in Boston. While he is very intelligent, he understands just enough to confuse him even more. We (my husband and I) have never tried to isolate him from the world but we do try to answer his questions and keep the discussion on what we think is his level of understanding. They also discuss current/world events in school so impossible to shield him from it.

My husband told him that the US is too far away for a missle launched from North Korea to hit but (son) is worried that North Korea has allies in striking distance that have nuclear missles that we don’t know about and they might use them against us. He also know that there are American military bases throughout the world and worries about our soldiers abroad. He often wants to discuss war strategies based on video games and movies.

He didn’t hear about Boston until he was getting ready for school this morning so we didn’t really have time to discuss it this morning. He won’t have Social Studies today due to CRCT so they might not mention it at all today at school. He did comment that the news should not have reported it because it might make the bombers feel important and they will want to blow up other crowded places such as sports arenas.

Becky

April 16th, 2013
12:06 pm

The boy is the one that is in tune with news happenings..He watches the news every morning and we talked about the bombing..He worries about some things..I do my best to help him understand that he can’t fix everything and he will drive himself crazy worrying about so much..

@Metro Coach..Yes, our military men and women are doing a kick a** job..Many thanks go out to them and their families…So, am I the only one that thinks instead of sending so many young innocent men and women over there, that we should clear out some of our jails and prisons and let these people go over there and fight and kill? Sorry Theresa, not trying to change the topic..

Jeff

April 16th, 2013
12:16 pm

Well, i now you girls (?) that are normal need good feeback, the same way we do. lol

Megan

April 16th, 2013
12:30 pm

I am worried about Korea myself and obviously disturbed by what happened at the marathon, but this helped me so maybe it will help your children: My husband is a member of the Army and he told me that he won’t let anything happen. He works hard everyday to protect the home land…

FCM

April 16th, 2013
1:29 pm

@ Jeff….I am just glad their other parents out there trying to raise decent kids. One day my daughters (and yours) may want to marry. I need them to marry a man of values, solvent, able to pay his bills, educated, a truly good mate for my child….with parents who will treat my child as a daughter. In return those men will get a woman of value, solvent, able to pay her bills, educated and truly a good mate for them (at least that is my current goal). They will be treated as a son in my home. I will not be there to tell them how to live and behave, because by the time they get there I should not have too. If that makes normal, a good parent or whatever fine.

My mom posted a pic of her and Dad on facebook today. Both her children and her daughter-in-law liked it with minutes. I think that speaks well of them

American Exceptionalism

April 16th, 2013
1:31 pm

Megan. Not to be blunt, but what happened on 9-11? What happened yesterday?

While the army, etc. currently occupies over 1000 bases in over 150 countries around the world, tens of thousands of people cross our southern border every month. The military always claims that it is protecting the homeland, but really the majority of actions of the military are in support of the big businesses that run the banking cartel, the oil industry, the armaments industries, and all those who profit from our never ending wars. It would actually be nice if our military would all come home and actually defend the homeland for a change. But hey, he’s your husband so you believe everything he tells you, right?

catlady

April 16th, 2013
3:45 pm

I might also add that 2 of the 3 have no TV now, as adults.

Observer

April 16th, 2013
7:32 pm

TWG, always be honest with your children. You can’t control all but should advise we don’t live in fear. Boston, tragedy and goodness prevailed over evil. N. Korea, we can’t control but our gov/military on top. Life moves on and we are a compassionate, caring nation.

Google the number of teenagers killed in automobile accidents each year in US. That number surpasses any terrorist attack. That is one of “controllable dangers” parents should be concerned about.

jarvis

April 16th, 2013
8:22 pm

Thanks FCM. That was nice.

I miss shaggy. That dude made me laugh.

motherjanegoose

April 16th, 2013
8:41 pm

@Jeff…today a child told me I was beautiful and nice. I WILL TAKE IT…haha! Any feedback on my 8:23 a.m.post is appreciated, since it finally showed up.

Ann

April 16th, 2013
8:46 pm

My son, who just turned 8, does not know about these particular events. He is very inquisitive, though, so if he learns about them, we will discuss it and answer any questions honestly. At this age, I do not feel the need to tell him about every major news event, but we do not necessarily shield him from things. He knows about some historic events, such as the Holocaust and Osama Bin Laden.

We are like Catlady, though, in regards to television. It is off the majority of the time. He is not exposed to every day news, except he occasionally sees a headline over our shoulder on the web. If you think your child is likely to hear about a news event, perhaps it is good to bring it up first. But, generally, I don’t think kids under 10 need to know about every horrible thing that happens in the world day to day. When some time has passed, there is a little more perspective and understanding from a historical perspective.

JA

April 16th, 2013
11:49 pm

I was twelve at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis. I lived in New York City and was involved in a little kids’ gang war. There was no hostility to our gang wars; we held them because we thought that having a gang war was cool. They were like a form of recreation.

I thought that if there was a nuclear war, New York City might be bombed and we might have to hide in air raid shelters for few days. I thought that there would be a lot of rubble around, but the possibility of being killed never occurred to me. I suggested to my friends that maybe we should postpone our gang war until after the nuclear war threat was over.

I don’t think that children are any more traumatized by distant or theoretical threats than are adults. Threats close at hand are a different matter. Seeing a snake at the age of five really scared me.

Dahlia

April 17th, 2013
2:23 am

make it clear to him that god loves him and nothing will happen,, he is protected from above.. about the news am sorry but your turning your son into an ignorant if you dont let him watch the news and know whats happening in the world.
and please be aware to not use the word terrorist, still u dont know who bombed boston maybe it was just a psychopath like many other incidents in the US.
you cant call korean people terrorists because that is brainwashing you will be teaching your kid to hate.. The US have killed many people in Vietnam in Afghanistan and is now interfering and giving weapon to Syria and to Israel.
am a Palestinian who have lived with Israeli Rockets around me , God loves me and protected me so am still alive, but you never know maybe instead of my neighbor or my friend i would be the one killed, the rockets thrown at us every day are Israeli weapons given from the US government, still i never called the Americans as Terrorist, and never called the Jewish as terrorists.
if you want peace then you should pressure on your government to stop interfering in other states under the name of “peace”. stop military aid to Syrian revolutionary, stopping military aid to the Israeli Defence forces
your government should start worrying about its inner issues other than interfering in other countries issues, because whats happening in the US is totally inhuman, just like whats happening in Gaza when a whole family with 4 kids were blown by a rocket..
Such Incidents in the US are increasing, maybe your government should put in mind changing the law that allows people to hold weapons.
teach your kid, love and peace.. let him no the world is not a good place but he should be the change in this world.. and let him be aware of everything going around him in this big world starting from Africa starving people, to The Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the US-Korean conflict.

FCM

April 17th, 2013
7:16 am

@ Dhalia….Terrorist is defined as “a person who terrorizes or frightens others.” (Websters Dictionary). A terrorist can be people hijacking planes into buildings, a derranged man shooting up 20+ elementary school kids, or a psychopath who put homemade bombs on a race course. Why would should we cleanse our wording to make it sound better if the enemy is domestic?

As my boss said yesterday “Call them freaking animals for the behavior they display or call them devils or terroists. What does it matter? The result is the same.”

I will not teach my children to think words are evil….terrorist is a label we put on individuals do certain actions. Truthfully it is easier for kids to understand that NK is trying to bully the US than to comprehend the word terrorist.

FCM

April 17th, 2013
7:54 am

@ MJG I think you just drop an email or a call to the girl to let her know you are thinking of her. Offer to go to lunch with her if she wants. Just let her know you there if she needs you. It is a really difficult thing she is facing. She may not take you up on the offer (lunch or whatever) but she will probably appreciate the fact you made the effort.

George

April 17th, 2013
8:40 am

North Korea is a threat but nothing to worry about. As for the wars America has entered into and the aid they provide other, you cannot have peace without war, the world will not suddenly become a field of flowers. You first have to rid the field of the dead vegetation covering it.

Fernando

April 17th, 2013
2:43 pm

Im a proud father of a 13 year old girl I worry everyday when I send my daughter to school there is to much happening nowadays,so many people want to hurt us and our kids and sometimes we won’t be there to protect them so you have to tell them what’s really going on in the news so they will be aware of there surrounding and notice the signs of danger,if you don’t tell them and something happens to them you won’t be able to live with yourself Knowing you could of told them