As most of you know, I don’t sugar coat things, and when I talk to kids, I like to keep it real– obviously in an age-appropriate manner. So, when I was watching the news last night with my son, and we heard the various accounts from the survivors of the Navy Yard shooting, I did not switch to the Disney channel, but rather we watched until the end and then I let him ask me questions.
Interestingly enough one of the first ones was whether I had to work in DC, because he thought it might be safer if I just worked from home. It was with great sadness that I could see the concern in his eyes, and yet I flat out refused to let him think that we can just hide from all the dangers in the outside world. We have to accept that anything can happen at any moment, and this is exactly why you have to live life to the fullest, each and every day.
Bad things happen every single day, yet I definitely think we are seeing a spike in violent behavior because so many feel disenfranchised these days. The divide between the rich and poor is so vast, and thanks to the information age, we can all see exactly how much the “haves” and “have nots” lead drastically differently lives.
Social media is great in some ways, but I’m sure it can really make many feel ostracized, especially if they don’t have many friends on FB or contacts on LinkedIn. Today, we can track all sorts of things that you never could see before– the great parties, pretty vacations, huge family gatherings. I happen to love seeing all of this, but imagine if these things highlighted everything you don’t have?
There is a lot of anger out there, and few with good coping mechanisms. These coping skills have to be taught early on– how to discipline your emotions and channel your energy in a positive way are things that can be taught, and the sooner the better. If we could all take a little more time to teach the little ones about what matters, and that they shouldn’t worry about what others are doing, this will go a long way in the future for all of us.
These days, my motto has become “Keep It Simple Stupid.” A simple life, with simple needs is the best way to stay out of trouble. Easier said than done in the DC rat race, but heck, at least I’m trying!
Whatever you do, try not to avoid difficult conversations with kids– they need your help to make sense out of all this nonsense. One great resource is “Raise Your Child’s Social IQ,” which was written by Cathi Cohen, who did a tv segment for me last year. After the Boston Marathon incident, I did another segment with Steve Stein, who offers some great tips for talking to kids about tragedies. Here is the link to that show:
By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.