In light of yet another heartbreakingly violent episode at a school and more recently, the tragic ferry accident in Seoul, I thought this was a particularly good time to face how we discuss tragedy, violence, death, and dying with our kids. This is a conversation no parent dreams of having but more often we are faced with. What are we to do when wanting to comfort a scared or grieving child? We are struggling to process it in our own minds; the last thing we want to do is explain tragedy to our little ones. When I was faced with my own tragedy, I turned to books.
To be sure, books don’t have all of the answers but they are a start. Books are an excellent resource when you don’t know what to say, where to go, or how to begin. Books can comfort you and let you know that you’re not alone, or their methods can be so ridiculous that they are unhelpful, but at least show you what not to do. The following are three books that have helped me during a difficult time in my life..
3. TALKING WITH YOUNG CHILDREN ABOUT DEATH BY FRED ROGERS
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Talking with Young Children about Death is a brochure I received from a children’s grief therapist. As a long time fan of Mister Rogers, it is not surprising that I would turn to him to help me understand a child’s point of view while dealing with grief. “Children’s sensitivity to 'vibes' is extremely keen. At a time of sadness in a family there are so many facial cues, so many disrupted schedules, new people coming and going, lots of conversations to overhear, and a general aura that clearly states that something important is going on.” When you think about it that way, is it any wonder children act out? They know something is going on but no one will tell them in a way that they can understand. That must be incredibly frustrating and scary. I’ve discovered that by turning to books for any occasion, even death and dying, I can find what I need. Sometimes I find answers to questions, sometimes I find inspiration, sometimes I find a comforting poem or story. Talking with children about tragedy isn’t easy, but if you’re not sure where to begin, why not open a book?
As an award winning blogger Pam is an expert in the field of children’s literature, teaching, blogging, consulting, writing book reviews, and public speaking. She's active in Shot@Life (a global vaccination program) and We Need Diverse Books. She's the creator of Unconventional Librarian Blog and the 2015 Diversity Reading Challenge Pam is a 2014 & 2015 Cybils Judge, a Blogging from A to Z Challenge Co Host, as well as a Good Enough Mother columnist. Pam is passionate about bringing awareness and sensitivity to LGBTQ young adults in literature. She holds a BS in English Writing, a post baccalaureate certificate in Elementary Education, and a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science from Drexel University. She is also a certified elementary teacher and a library media specialist.