You don't have to be perfect to be the perfect parent!

After the tragedy, where do we go from here?

Where do we go from here?  We continue to see the images of beautiful children who have been tragically lost scroll across our TV and computer screens.  The tears seem endless.  What do we do with our emotions, our anger, our sadness?  We must use these feelings to move our families and our country in a positive direction.  The time is now when our emotions are so raw and our hearts are so full of pain.  Now is the time to look at what we need to do as parents to help prevent this type of tragedy from ever happening again.

  1.  Love your children deeply, be involved in their lives.  Teach the values of life and love to your children from moment one.  Provide security to your children and shelter them from adult problems and evil in the world.  Their little minds cannot process the scary truths that exist in our world.
  2.  Protect your children from being exposed to violence in video games and TV.  I feel that is one of our biggest mistakes as a society.  I feel that the realistic violent video games that so many of our children are exposed to can numb a young mind to violence and its horror.  Some will argue that children have played “cops and robbers” or “army” for generations, but never have children been exposed through that imaginary play to the reality of violence that is so palpable in these video games.  Our children are “killing” with graphic detail….these graphic and detailed images are not healthy for young immature minds.
  3.  Support our young boys.  All of these mass shootings have been carried out by young males.  Our boys need to learn how to express their anger, frustration, and emotion in ways that are non violent.  Our boys need fathers and male role models who teach how to be strong men, but men who use their strength to love and care for others.  Our young men MUST have loving role models.  We must support families.
  4.   Support our children and adults who have mental illnesses.  Parents of troubled children must be their advocate to help them receive the help that is so desperately needed.  Teachers must be alert to those students that need services and address those needs with parents.  We all must support mental health programs and advocate for more programs.  We must be providing care, support and services for those parents who are caring for children who have mental illness. 
  5.  Talk about gun safety and gun control.  If you have guns in your home, they must be locked up and inaccessible.  There will be many discussions about the need for more gun control, but we must find the core values that are missing in our society too, controlling guns without strengthening our families, instilling values of life and love in our children, supporting the emotional needs of our young boys, and providing services for the mentally ill will not stop the violence.
  6.  Have open discussions with our schools to be sure that there are safety policies in place.  Our schools are safe and this is a rare tragedy, but we must be sure that our children are protected by common sense safety policies in the schools.  Talk to your children and reassure them that they are safe at school and answer their questions about their safety gently.  Fear does not prevent violence, it only increases the damage.
  7.  Get active. Use your emotions.  Reach out and help those that are hurting, write letters, form groups to pressure companies to stop marketing violent games, join school safety committees, become a mentor to a troubled young man…action heals hurt.  Be a part of the solution.
  8.  Take care of your own emotions.  Take a break from the news reports.  Talk to other parents, your family, members of your church,  friends, anyone who can support you in moments of sadness and anxiety.  Redirect your thoughts to reasons you are grateful.  Hug your children and revel in the moment.

Now is the time to act.  Our emotions and feelings are raw with pain, but time will numb that pain and we will soon be carrying on our lives in the same manner.  We cannot let this tragedy go unanswered….we are parents, we love our children, we all can do better.  Let’s work together to stop the violence.

Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.



  1. Ann

    Cindy – my heart has just been breaking over & over again these last 4-5 days. I can’t seem to stop thinking about it & crying. Your post is one of the few things I’ve read that has been helpful. Thank you for the common sense, comfort, and focus on what we need to do as a country. These acts of violence seem to be increasing in their devastation. The only answer I see is a revolution of compassion, community, and care for one another. As a nation, we continue to isolate ourselves in our homes & cut ourselves off from our neighbors and even our relatives. We need to fling our doors back open, get to know the people around us, and deeply care for each other. This “every man for himself” mentality is so detrimental.

    One specific comment re: gun control. I agree WHOLEHEARTEDLY with you that we need to revolutionize how people think about and teach values. We need to increase access to and affordability of mental health care … and remove the stigma of seeking help for mental illness. We need parents & teachers to cultivate emotional health of children and educate them about compassion. At the same time, I think that gun control is equally important. I believe that individuals have a right to own guns if they choose and if they are properly trained to use them and keep them safe. At the same time, ownership of an assault rifle of the kind that allowed someone to blast his way into a school and claim so many lives in a matter of minutes is – in my opinion – completely unnecessary. If you want a handgun to protect yourself in your home, or if you enjoy hunting as recreation, that is one thing. But if those were the only types of weapons that Adam Lanza had been able to access, he would not have been able to commit such devastation. In my mind, we need both things. People kill people AND guns kill people. Therefore we need commitment to both caring for people AND common-sense gun control. I think that these two things actually feed off of each other. If we allow access to assault weapons, we undermine the message of non-violence and compassion. So if we are committed to bringing our children up with these values, we must demonstrate the same values with our laws.

    Thank you again for your post. It truly has been one of the only things that has made me feel better since this tragedy occurred. Wishing you & your family a deeply peaceful holiday season.


    • Ann…such a thoughtful response. This is the type of conversation we need now. I agree with you!! Together we can raise compassionate children, we need strong families, strong values, a united front, and action. Merry Christmas! Cindy


  2. Very good advice. It’s crazy to me to think that so many people feel the need to own guns in the first place. I think raising compassionate people is key to moving forward.


    • I agree…we need to get back to basics as families. 2013 is a great year to start this!!!


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