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Blog, Mum Life

Parenting amidst tragedy

A Guest post by Fi Morrison, Mumma Morrison

At the end of last week, we heard about a horrific tragedy in Melbourne where a driver mowed down pedestrians in the busy Burke St Mall. Five people died, including a 10 year old girl and a 3 month old baby. It is another incident which has shocked our country, and made us rethink our safety, our confidence, and even our beliefs and values. It is another example of what many believe is “our world going wrong”.

As a new mum, you hear many quotes and many pieces of advice for how to parent. But have you heard the one that goes, “why would you bring a kid into this world?” It may have been said in jest or in all seriousness, but I’m sure you’ve heard it, because I know I have. It is a comment made to imply that this world is too corrupt, too horrible, too tragic, to even consider birthing a child, let alone raising them, in it. What do we say to these people? How do we respond to such comments that almost hint at negligence on our behalf as parents, as though we clearly wanted to inflict harm on children by bringing them into this world? (The emphasis is to point out how ridiculous this statement is, not to agree with it!)

When there is so much negativity, pain, anger and fear in the world, it can be hard to think about anything else. Of course, when there are terror attacks or individuals purposely causing harm, it frightens me to think that our child will grow up in such a world. BUT, I also think about the positives – The delights, the blessings, the wonders that he will experience. For all the bad that there is in the world, there is much more good. So, as I wait for my 6 month old son to grow and to learn from this ‘horrible’ world around him, here are the 3 things I am going to be doing to help him find the joy amidst the tragedy.

Count our blessings

It is a lot harder to remember the positives of any given day, as we are easily drawn to the negatives. Looking for blessings each day is almost a skill to teach our children, and so when my son is old enough, I want to have conversations with him at the end of each day about the one blessing he found in the day. It could be as simple as having food for dinner, playing with his best friend, or getting a new toy. Whatever it is, I want to teach my son the value of seeing the positive each and every day.

Talk about the bad 

Some parents may want to steer clear of exposing their children to the horrible things happening altogether. However, I want to talk about these events with my children so they know they aren’t commonplace situations, and they understand a bit more about the world around them in general. While this might be a personal preference sort of thing, I feel as though ‘bubble wrapping’ our children can be detrimental as they grow older. It might lead to naivety, fear or even extreme anxiety in certain situations. We can prepare our children for what the world is like by talking about it and giving them strategies they can use when they are older to keep themselves safe (such as carrying a phone to call for help, travelling in groups rather than alone, recognising potential unsafe locations, etc).

Go out of your way to promote good

 The best way to negate bad situations is by doing good. While I mentioned before that we should talk about positive things in our day-to-day lives, we should also work with our children to do good things. How often do we read tragic news stories, but then see the shining beacon of hope as people work together to support and lift each other up? Encourage you children to perform random acts of kindness for others, such as writing an encouraging note or sitting with a lonely child at school. As children participate in these activities (and you model it as parents too), they will begin to see that there is more to the world than just tragedies and sadness.

These are the three ways I am going to parent amidst tragedy as my son grows up.

What are some ways you help your children during these tragic circumstances?

About Fi

Fi Morrison is a first- time mum to a beautiful 6 month old baby boy. She started blogging at Mumma Morrison as a way to document her life with her son, as well as to build a community to support new and prospective mums. Fi also has a small business (Starfish Creations) creating fashion necklaces for women. She lives with her family in Sydney.

Image: iStock/Nuli_k

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