Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Evil in the World - Protecting our children from harm

I've taken a break from blogging for the past couple of days, although there certainly has been plenty to blog about, especially if I wanted to comment on world events.

In USA and world news, the biggest story is the death of al Quaeda leader Osama bin Laden and the NAVY Seals operation which resulted in his death.  Questions abound left and right about the operation, the intelligence, the timing, the subsequent burial of his body at sea and what specific details (such as pictures or DNA evidence) that the government is going to release to the public. Already there has been conflicting information put out there regarding the timeline of the raid, who was involved, who was killed, etc.  This bothers me.  I'd rather have them come out with facts later than sooner and have them be accurate than to rush out with news for the sake of a sound bite and then have the information turn out to be significantly different.  We are a nation that prides ourselves on strength, intelligence and a progressive use of technology.

I believe it's important for our government to show our citizens and allies as a responsible world power that when information is shared in a press conference about an operation that was quite awhile in the making that the dissemination of that information that is chosen as safe to be shared is well thought out, carefully worded and factually correct.  Anything less and I personally believe it brings rise to doubt, conspiracy theories and reactions that could then cause our nation more harm than good.

I look at my oldest son who wasn't even two when the horrific events of 9/11/2001 took place.  Being his mom, it's natural to want to protect my son and not have him see such terrible things, especially at such a young age.  We teach our children by example to be trusting, honest and open and so often when one is a child, his or her viewpoint is more idealistic then realistic because they still have a childlike innocence that hasn't been tainted by knowledge of some of the atrocities in this world.

Now that my oldest son is in middle school, I wonder what he will hear about recent world events and how it will shape his view of the world.  I have told him if he has any questions about what he hears to feel free to come talk with me about it.  Wanting to protect him, I sort of just hope this flies over his head for the time being.  I certainly don't want him to be ignorant of world events, I just don't want to see him get really emotionally wrapped up in them at this age as he is very visual and pictures events very graphically.  I don't want his nighttime thoughts to be caught up in gruesome imagery. Let him be a child while he is a child...

I remember when I was young that I was aware of bad people (people who hurt kids or adults, killers, people who went to jail for doing wrong things) but I didn't remotely process the significance of how much evil one could perpetrate until I experienced it personally and even then, it has taken me years to still try and work through the logic, emotion and understanding behind what happened to me, why I couldn't predict it would happen and why I couldn't stop it.

Today was a hard day for me emotionally because even though I see great progress that my sons are making, sometimes the things they do scare me or make me wonder if they are regressing.  We have been working SO hard the past couple of years with our youngest to make sure that he will walk with us and not bolt away.  He has made tremendous strides and most days he does an excellent job following the safety rules.  But it only takes one day, one time to impulsively bolt and run and there to be an oncoming car or other danger and then our little boy will be hurt or much worse...

Today, Ryan bolted.  He knew when we asked him afterwards that he should have stayed with us.  He knew that was the rule.  But his impulsive need or feeling that he needed to leave the group and run fast and far ahead superseded "rules" and the deterrent of getting in trouble and losing a privilege didn't register.  The deterrent of possibly getting hurt didn't register.  Ryan bolting or one day just deciding to wander off is something that keeps me up at night...

The other thing I noticed with my other son is that he seems to be stimming more and in a louder and more noticeable way as he is getting older.  Although so far, he still seems to be accepted among his peers and scouts and will always be accepted here at home, I do worry that people who do not know him and see some of this behavior may try to embarrass or bully him.  I just don't want to see that happen.  I know our sons require their sensory breaks and each has their own things that they do to help self-regulate.  When we're in certain inclusive settings such as a special needs event and other parents see our kids stim and we see their kids stim, there are likely to be knowing glances exchanged but with love, acceptance and understanding.

When people who are not used to being around a child with autism or Asperger's suddenly sees what "looks" to them to be a typical kiddo suddenly start spinning or flicking his fingers and making humming or loud video game type noises, it's pretty natural to assume they're going to look out of curiosity and wonder what might be motivating that kid or teen to be doing what he/she is doing.

When stimming gets disruptive in a public situation, we try to use redirection by suddenly asking our son a question about something we know he is interested in, distracting him or using some sort of other self-regulation tool in exchange.

Well, I started out talking about world news and I ended up with personal sharing and reflection.  I think if I were to tie the thoughts together I would say that I have been thinking a lot lately about how to protect my children from the danger and evil in the world while letting them enjoy life, pursue their passions, be safe and be protected and not be too naive so that they put themselves into harm's way.

I will reflect upon this some more.  If you have any thoughts on protecting your children both physically and emotionally from danger and harm, please feel free to share!  What do your children know about world events today?  Do you discuss them as a family?  I'm curious!

Thanks for stopping by,


  1. Weirdly enough, I let my children watch things like Terminator and Zombieland. They know it's not real because they've seen the "making of.." and we often talk about how the world is such a good place that we have to invent monsters just to make things a little more exciting for ourselves.

    They know that there are real monsters but we don't watch films which have "real" things in them. It's enough to know that they exist and that while you should be friendly and trusting, you still need to be wary.

    Kids need to be safe but not naive.

  2. Hi Gavin,
    Thanks for your input. I do agree with you that kids need to be safe, wary and not naive, especially when it comes to things like strangers and safety issues.

    Cartoons can actually be pretty violent but they never bothered me when I was a kid and they haven't seen to bother our boys either but we have explained comic violence in a way that they know it isn't not real (i.e. Jerry hitting Tom over the head with a frying pan would not be a funny thing for brothers to do to each other).

    Right now the boys are really into Scooby Doo and that's fine with me. :-)