School Shooting :'(!

Updated on December 18, 2012
P.S. asks from Chicago, IL
15 answers

So I have been watching all day about the school shooting. Parker my son who is 4 seen some of it on the news and let me tell you that was a very stressful and heartfelt talk we had between the two of us. He was so full of questions that for once mommy couldn't give answers that satisfied him. He ask me, "Moma were those kids bad kids? Were they being punished." I told him "No lil guy they weren't bad kids and that's not any kind of punishment. He said "Did that man not love kids?" I said "That man was very sick. And most people aren't like that but sometimes some people do bad things." He said "When I go to school will somebody do that to me?" I can't sit there and tell him "No" because I don't know what the future holds. But the mother instinct in me told me to comfort him in this situation. So of course I said "Lil guy that would never happen to you. Ok?" He then started to cry and said "Are all those kids in heaven now with God up there? And are they in my heart like my grandma and gram cracker and papa bill and boo boo?" I said "little guy those kids are in everybody's hearts now and forever." He then asked if we could mail a letter to God and ask god to watch over those kids and hug them every day. He said he wants god to remind them that everybody loves them. Parker then sat there slightly puzzled as the part of our conversation that broke me was brewing in his lil head. He looked at me with such happiness and said "Mom? I want to give all my presents from santa to the kids brothers and sisters. Because now they have no one to play with, and I have Hunter and Lily. Shouldn't we do that mom? So the kids aren't sad for their brothers and sisters?"

I knew at that very moment that very instant. I've done something right with my son. The compassion and heart he has I have not seen be touched by anyone other single person. So we agreed that he would get two presents and we would get some teddy bears, 20 to be exact and place them around our room in memory of the children who lost their lives today. We will also write a letter and mail it to God because he said he wants to make sure God looks out for those little kids. It was a struggle to get him to agree to keep two gifts for himself but I feel this compromise was a good one considering he is so young.

I laid him down and gave him a hug and kiss an read the poky lil puppy to him (his favorite book) and he said he also wanted to send that book with his letter to God, because it was his favorite and he wanted God to read it to the little kids. Once again he got me crying. Tomorrow we have a letter and book to send, I'm so proud of him! I can't imagine life without my lil man, and I don't know how I made it so far before him. All I know is my son is the greatest most perfect thing in my life that could never go wrong and I couldn't imagine not having him, my heart goes out to all those parents who lost their babies!

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So What Happened?

To Manda, I didn't intentionally let him see this. I life with family, split level living and my sister and her husband were watching it upstairs when he walked up and seen it while he was going to the washroom. I have been keeping tabs on it on my computer but nothing he had noticed. And honestly, I wouldn't intentionally hide that from him, it is a part of life, there is danger all around and he should grow up being prepared for that. When a child is abducted I don't shield him from that because he needs to know the dangers that surround him. On the flip side I totally understand why some people would like to shield their children. I have in some occasions shielded him. But then again like I said it wasn't intentional that he had seen this.

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answers from Austin on

It sounds like you are raising a very generous and compassionate boy... good job!

I think you did a great job of explaining how and why that happened.....

I wonder, with him wanting to help all those other kids, that you might explain that lots of people from across the US are sending them toys and such.... and would he maybe rather help some local children that might not have as many presents? Would that help satisfy him? I'm just wondering what you are going to do with the 20 teddy bears.......

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I think you did a nice job handling it when you found out he saw it. He's a sweetheart.

I'm not going to bring it up with my son, who is in kindergarten, unless I need to. I left a message with the school that afternoon asking what they might be doing re. the children, but I think I called pretty late. I believe they would have sent a voicemail to all parents (they do that for school event reminders) letting them know if the shooting had been talked about at school. He hasn't been exposed to it at all. I have kept the news off both TV and radio. I'm going to contact the school on Monday to see how they will approach it, and I will deal with it then. He is a sensitive boy, and very literal, so I want to shield him from this as long as I can, and help him process it when he has to deal with it.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Columbus on

Obviously this was a case of adults not paying attention and realizing a 4 year old was in the room and he accidentally saw it. From that, mom handled it beautifully. However, every expert I have heard so far talking about this says there is absolutely no reason to share this to children younger than 8, and that in fact they SHOULD be shielded from it if possible. I believe they are even recommending kids under 13 not even watch the news, and just have mom and dad explain it rather than have the haunting images. Of course, if you feel they are going to be exposed regardless then you should talk to them. So, yes it was handled well, given the situation. But we shouldn't be judging those who protect their kids from it, either, since they are doing what they are supposed to be doing and they are not "bubble wrapping them". There is a time and season......

12 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

honestly, not to marginalize your sadness (or any of ours) over this, but your title with the cute little crying smiley face, and the fact that you and your family "unintentionally" let him see it, and you wouldn't intentionally hide it from you even realize the gravity of what happened friday?

my gut says, NOT doing every single thing in our power to shield an innocent 4 year old (*btw my son is 6 and has NO idea what happened) is part of the problem, with jading our children to things like this and leading to a more violent society. i really hope being so "open and honest" with him doesn't backfire. but what do i know...

i am not trying to blast you - i don't know you, parker sounds like a very sweet little boy, you sound like a very loving mom...but this post is seriously disturbing to me on a very deep, subconscious level. i can't shake it.

my six year old has seen us give money lots of times to salvation army, toys for tots, etc. he expects it and asks if he thinks we passed by the red bucket. i think that is a wonderful spirit in a little child. i also feel it's a much more appropriate tool for teaching compassion and about those less fortunate, rather than this devastating tragedy.

i guess to each their own...

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

I am trying to shield my kids from it. I am trying to shield myself from it. I brought it up and talked with my 9 year old about it, but I don't want my 5 and 3 year olds having this level of fear and anguish on their shoulders before the are capable of fully understanding life a little better. I have mentioned that sometimes bad things happen but that's as far as I take it with them.

I think you handled it as best as you could given the circumstances and your son was very sweet to want to try and help. Now tell everyone to only turn on the Disney channel :)

I even hid the front page of the newspaper from the 9 year old as it had a giant pic of some parents with such anguish on their faces it was deeply haunting and disturbing to me. No way my son needs to see that.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

Your post made me cry....again. Your boy is wise and compassionate beyond his years.

Manda: We don't watch tv regularly in our house. I didn't find out about this tragedy until yesterday afternoon and spoke to my SO about it before the kids got home, so they didn't see or hear anything about it from us. Well, today I asked my daughter if she heard about any bad news yesterday and she said yeah....the kid down the street told her someone shot and killed 26 five year olds. So I did feel the need to discuss, comfort and reassure her that this will not happen to her too. Your kid might already know and be internalizing her maybe you should talk to her about it before some other kid does and scares her. Not only that but like my daughter, what she does hear may not exactly be true.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

You have a lovely son and are doing an amazing job. It is so refreshing to hear a mother speak of reality and how to truly support her children.

The idea that we should "shield" our children is very dangerous. You clearly limit exposure to these events and have a good sense of balance in sharing with your children. You have given us all a great example of how to support and prepare our children through honest, open, clear, and direct communication and teaching your children empathy, compassion, and how to support themselves when faced with the realities of living on planet earth.

We cannot protect our children however we can definately prepare them. Our job is to give the tools to support them and you have shown us what that looks like. Thank you.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I'm not sure if I would have shared this with a child so young. I understand your intentions and it is very sweet that he is so kind hearted. It's disturbing enough for us adults, I can't imagine for children.

My husband went to high school with one of the fathers who lost their daughter. I know for us, it has hit us at our deepest level. To send someone a note of kindness, and to think of their siblings who are without is a very sweet and endearing thing for a child so young to think about.

God be with you and your precious boy.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

If you want to send the toys to the town, I have heard that the local fire department may be taking donations. You should verify, though. Or get 20 bears and put them in a Toys for Tots bin.

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answers from New York on

That's great you're going to send all his presents but two to the town. I'm sure if you google it, you can find where to send it all. And I'm sure your son is extra special but I think it highlights the tragedy of these poor children being murdered as any time a hardship of another child comes up, my kids are always ready to share or give something of theirs. The idea of orphans makes them cry hysterically. Almost all children are very giving and generous and concerned for other children. Somehow this monster didn't know he was killing the best part of human nature. Or maybe he did. Who knows is his screwed up mind. I've also successfully kept this incident from my kids who are in 1st and 3rd grades. Hasn't been difficult. Not sure what will happen at school on Monday though or in Sunday school even.

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answers from New York on

Why are you letting him see this. He is four years old. There is no reason for him to even know about it.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Your son is a sweetie. We decided to tell our 9 and 7 year old today, but gave them the basics and not the details. I was worried they might hear about it when I'm switching channels on the radio in the car, or at sports, or school on Monday. They haven't seen anything on the TV, thankfully. We have kept that off. No need for them to know the entire story, but we wanted them to know that they are safe at school. We just had a mall shooting near us. Two discussions in a week about the same kind of thing. :(

I was thankful for this day with my two beautiful kids. Even the simple little things were magical. My son climbed in bed with us this morning for a snuggle and even kissing his little hand made me tear up. I'm so lucky to get to do that!

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answers from Salinas on

He's four years old for God's sake TURN OFF THE TV!!!!!

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answers from San Francisco on

Your child is very sweet and compassionate - not many compassionate kids these days.

I do, however, believe he is way to young to know about this and it's good that you told him he's never have to worry about something like this. You're right, we don't know what the future holds, but kindergarten can be scarey enough, we don't need to add these types of fears.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Peoria on

I had the same kind of talk with my son who is 5. He asked about the sign in Chuck E. Cheeses and what that ment. It was a picture of a gun and a line through it. I simply said " you can't bring guns in there" He was fine with that answer. Although we did watch the news and things while he was in the room, he didn't pay any attention and didn't really understand what was going on. So, while we were walkign through, a lady behind me said something about the shooting and my son started asking questions. He asked what she was talking about. With a heavy heart, trying to fight the tears walking to the car holding his hand and holding it tight. I explained what happen to those little boys, girls, and teachers. He was asking all the why's. I was driving to Barnes and Nobles for the book exchange this week. Trying not to let him see the tears stream down my face as I continue my explanation of what happen and that no one knows why he did or why anyone shoots someone else.

Then he asked me if those boys, girls and teachers will ever see their families again, and I take a deep breath I whisper "no bud, they will not" As I look back at him, he sees the tears rolling down my face and asks why I'm sad. I tried to explain to him that this is very sad. He says "well, mom you know what, I love you and i will protect you. You're the best mom in the world"!!! ♥ My Little Man!!!

1 mom found this helpful
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