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

9/11, helping our children understand….

9/11 forever changed our lives…that date has been etched into our hearts as a country.  Twelve years have passed, but it is one of those moments when those of us who were old enough will always remember the moment we heard.  As parents we want to protect our children from the knowledge of tragedy, we want them to live in a “bubble” of security and love.  The fact is, we can’t…our children will hear about tragedy, and they will come to know about 9/11…and to be honest, they should.  How we present a tragedy like 9/11 to our children will influence their ability to move from a sad and tragic event to the positive.  So what do you do today to remember 9/11 but not shatter the security of your child?

  1. Continue to always 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.  They don’t need the details.
  2. Preschoolers and older, find out what they know about 9/11…you might be surprised what they do know.  This gives you a basis for clearing up any misconceptions.  Young children “fill in the details” when they don’t know the full story, and those details can be much different from the truth.
  3. Keep it simple.  There is no need to go into the horrors of that day, just share the basics.  Young children do not need to see images or videos of the details.
  4. Make sure your child feels safe.  Whatever is said about 9/11, end with the message that they are safe.  Children do not need adult worries.  Concentrate on the brave people who responded that day and remind your child that you and others are there to protect him.
  5. Move forward in service.  As a family, plan a way to serve others on this day.  Moving forward in a positive way teaches everyone that tragedy should not just end in tragedy…it should be a catalyst for change.  Plan a small “good deed” today with your child.  Even very young children understand the act of kindness.  Concentrating on serving on 9/11 will eventually help all of us deal with the emotions of the day.  Start now; attach the good feeling of serving others to a day that brings such sadness.
  6. Take care of your own emotions.  Take a break from the 24 hour news coverage of the day; we do not need to continually relive the tragedy.  Surround yourself with the love of your family and the reasons you are grateful for your life.  Give those you love an extra hug and savor the moment.

9/11 is now a part of who we are in this country, but we can also use this day to appreciate our families, serve those around us, and teach our children that “bad things” don’t have to end as “bad things”; we can rise above the tragedy.

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



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