With the recent events in France on everyone’s mind, how do you discuss a tragic world event with your child with autism?
How did I talk to my child about the events in France?
My son and I were together when a news report came out on NPR about the terror attacks in France. I had read a report just minutes before on the Internet, so I knew a little bit about it.
But, my son had heard this report and immediately asked me what it was about.
I didn’t have much information at the time (nor did the news reports), but I told my son that it looked like France had suffered a coordinated terror attack.
My son asked me what that meant.
We had discussed terrorists before. He had had an interest in learning about 9-11, which led to my explaining how and why that had happened.
He even wanted to visit the 9-11 museum and One World Trade Center when we were in New York City this summer.
So, when he heard about the France attacks and asked me about them, I explained that these were multiple attacks carried out by terrorists in France.
He asked why.
I told him that it appears as if terrorists come up with ways to dispense their terror. They kill innocent people in these types of creative ways.
Was that all I told my son?
I told him not to be afraid. That’s what terrorists want from us.
We also discussed religion. I told him that most religions have extremists, but it is a small number of those who practice their respective religions. That went for all religions, not just Islam.
Why did I talk to my child?
Because I feel it’s important to discuss these things with him. He’s twelve. He’s growing up and learning about the world. He’s hearing about the world.
I believe those conversations should start with parents. I believe parents should take time to discuss these things, even terrorism. I can’t shield my child from the real world forever.
I don’t want him to afraid, and I want him to feel like we can discuss anything.
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