Welcome to "Hey Mom and Dad"—a weekly feature in which we ask our Facebook fans to share their views on parenting. We're starting off with a question we posed recently on the Patch Facebook pages.
Last week's tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT left the entire country shocked and speechless. Nevertheless, many parents felt they needed to discuss what happened with their children. That brings us to this week's question:
Have you talked with your kids about what happened in Connecticut and similar acts of violence? What did you tell them, or not tell them?
Take a look at what people had to say and join the conversation in the comments section.
Nicole Zalud-Levy: When my kids ask questions I answer them. I try not to shelter them bc that is a part of life. Things happen and they will need to know how to handle things. However, being a mom of 4 kids myself I found this tragedy as most very disturbing. I did not want my kids to hear or see any footage about it. My 10 yr old found out about it on Instagram. I then talked to them without getting into details about it. It's very sad these children all over the United States have to be scaird or nervous to go to school. I know we have wonderful schools in our area and they will I'm sure take the right steps to continue protecting our children. Next year I will have my 3rd child starting kindergarten, and my mom is also a 3rd grade teacher in the district. Some may say this a small town nothing will happen but the truth is you never know. I feel the district should have a "town" meeting so parents can ask questions and voice there concerns if they have any. Communication is key. So if your child does ask I feel you can talk to them and answer questions without getting into specifics. They should all know what to do in case of an emergency. —on Frankfort Patch Facebook
Becky Lannan Wagner: My daughter is 5 and goes to MES. I have not told her about Ct. They have practiced lockdown drills at school. Along with the usual fire and tornado drills. I have told her that she needs to listen to her teacher and do as she is told during these drills. I told her if something happens in real life she will need to know what to do. If she asks me about Ct. I will explain it to her in terms she will understand. —on Frankfort Patch Facebook
Holli Minette: Probably one of the most heart breaking conversation we had to have with our 11 year old daughter. I think it's important that they understand what happened and hear the stories of the teachers and faculty that made the ultimate sacrifice to protect those children. It's also important to make a plan with your children. It's so sad and unfortunate that this can be something that they may experience in their lifetime. It's a parents job to give them the tools to be as prepared as anyone can be, without making them afraid to get on the bus in the morning. I have to say I gave my daughter and extra long hug at the bus stop today.
I also would be interested to hear if there are stricter plans in the works to protect our local schools. As parents all we can do is trust that we are sending our kids to a safe place to learn and grow. I want to trust that! —on Frankfort Patch Facebook
Shari Cartwright Schmidt: We answered their questions, but didn't go into any more detail than necessary. We weren't going to tell them at all, but they heard about it at school. —on Palos Patch Facebook
Art Wiggins Jr.: No I have not nor will I. There is no reason for me to discuss the violent non rational actions of the mentally ill with my two school age kids.
The week long onslaught of media coverage will terrorize many of our public for years, similar to what 911 did to our country just 11 years ago. The Sandy Hook shooting and any other act similar to it, are behaviors that we cannot understand or control, because they are actions of mentally ill people. Publicity, any ongoing dialog, or actions to try to prevent it is not rational. —on Chicago Heights Patch Facebook
Kara Leah Kallio: Yes, because I want him to hear it from me and not someone else. I told him that a bad man came into a school and hurt some kids. But I said that he is safe and the bad man is in jail. —on Orland Park Patch Facebook
Beth Dale Kromray: I have a 4 yr and 1 yr old and we opted to not say anything. We pretty much kept the tv off all weekend. We watched Christmas and kid movies. My kids don't need the burden of knowing that—If I'm having a hard time understanding it a child is going to have an even harder time. —on Tinley Park Patch Facebook
Mary Georgehasissues Knepper Tarasiewicz: I did not feel the need to tell my 6 & 8 yr that other 6 & 8 yr olds were shot at school. There 3 places that my children should feel completely safe...home, school and church. I don't want to the one to put fear in their heart, I am the one who is suppose to calm the fears. There is no way to prepare them for such a situation so why should I make them aware of the possibility of such a situation. We have chosen to only discuss it if our children have questions they want to talk about —on Tinley Park Patch Facebook
Becky Kelly: My kids don't watch the news, and we don't watch it around them. If they bring it up, we will have no choice but to address it, but what they don't know is better! I don't want them scared to go to school everyday. —on Oak Forest Patch Facebook