January 12, 2009

Terror

I'm not posting a lot about the war but this is more of a personal issue.

I'm going to go ahead and assume that the US news networks are not showing nearly as many graphic images as are shown here on Al Jazeera and other news channels in the Middle East. Am I right? Here, it is all day, non stop and I do know that this has to get out. People have to know what is happening there, but when it comes to kids, it's a different story.

Now my kids don't usually pay attention to the news nor is it on a whole lot while they are around, but today they're was an especially horrible picture of a small child killed in Gaza. I've seen this poor child on the internet and I won't link to it. You can do a simple Google search and see for yourselves the atrocities that are occuring, that is if you haven't already.

Getting to the point, My son saw it, looked away and visibly cringed. Naturally. We had a short, age appropriate talk with him about it but it still didn't sit right with me. Kids could have nightmares of things like this. They don't have the ability to understand the complexities of war, and I realize some children don't have the luxury to change the channel or be unaware. It's just something I don't feel is neccessary to fully disclose at the present time. I wont be watching AlJazeera around the kids anytime soon. The look on Dawood's face was one of terror. Which is exactly what he saw.

20 comments:

  1. Here in the USA nothing at all very little coverage, I think Israel knows the media here in the USA, they are more busy covering the presidents inauguration next week. I do see more news of the conflict in my Spanish news are more graphic, more real news of what is happening!

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  2. Yes, here in the US the media doesn't show such graphic images. We were sitting down to eat breakfast last week and my husband turned on the satellite channels we get from Turkey, and they started showing very graphic pictures, and one of a dead child and my kids are right there. I myself don't even want to see it, and certainly don't want my daughters to see.
    I agree with you, I know people need to know what's REALLY happening, but, children shouldn't see that kind of stuff.

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  3. My best friend let her half-Palestinian daughter carry a protest poster with an enlarged image of a dead child on a Palestinian flag. Her daughter isn't five yet. How will she process this? What questions must she have asked? What answers must she have been given? Why would you ever let a child do that? There is a picture of her holding up the sign and smiling ear to ear. It's horrible. All I can think is that the intention behind it may have been good, but these things usually have the reverse effect on our children that we intend them to. I'm still cringing.

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  4. Yeah, here in the US what you get is some news but definitely no graphics... I ALWAYS log into Al Jazeera to see what's going on- but ALWAYS when my kids are in another room playing or asleep- you never know what you might see.
    It's never easy trying to explain death to a child....

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  5. I think they're overdoing it. The dead should be honored by being buried not having their bodies continuously shown on TV. It's doing no good to show these kinds of images.

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  6. I would have to agree. It is really upsetting in my opinion. I cant imagine what your son is feeling... Have you thought about openly talking to him, and telling him your feelings, and letting him share his? Poor guy. I am glad I dont have tv to watch the news, but I cant seem to stop getting videos from people on facebook - I dont even watch them, just the one image makes me sick. I know what is going on... and seeing these images isnt helping me do more. I am doing all I can. And as I mentioned before, what if it were their child? Would you want to disgrace them like this? Allah help us all.

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  7. i think kids see too many bads thing these days. there should be a balance.. kids should know whats generally going on and what is relevant to their world.. but some parents overdo the protection thing and some kids grow up too sheltered and still scared of the boogey man at 16.

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  8. what im saying is it may be relevant to tell your son wat is going on.. but i agree showing him these images isnt necessary

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  9. Mistika, just as I suspected.

    Melissa, it's sad to see it and then I feel guilty for not wanting to see it, because they have to live it and we can just shut it off.

    Shawna, That's really weird. I mean the poor kid can't process that.

    Empress, Same here from now on.

    Jessy, I agree, isn't there a hadith about that? I have to look it up.

    UmmTravis. Actually I did think about it but I kept thinking maybe it's better if he just forgets it? I don't know.

    Ange, yea he knows the basics but he was like "why don't they just leave Gaza" We had to talk about it then.

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  10. that's just so hard to imagine. how can you even begin to explain this to a child? i cant even really comprehend fully how human beings are acting like such monsters. i know war and such inhumanity isnt new, esp to gaza, but it defeats all avenues of comprehension for me anyway. it's just so heartbreaking

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  11. Mona, I did a post on this issue yesterday as I, myself, am distressed :-(

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  12. Ahh, poor Dawood that's very scary for a little guy to see.

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  13. MJ, you described it perfectly.

    Washi, yea I read that, it's affecting people in so many ways.

    Dayna, yea, thanks.

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  14. So sad! Kids should be allowed to keep their innocence, at the same time I agree that they should be aware of some events that are relevant to their world...

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  15. I had this talk with my sis a couple of days ago. I was telling her how I disturbing I felt having the images splashed allover the telly, to which she said they're just showing facts. Facts, yes yet the audience comprises of other ages that may not be able to comprehend it. Kids are highly imaginative, and you never know how they digest this kind of information. These days, I remove myself from the telly and prefers to read it online.

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  16. Hijabee, yea ideally they should.

    Hajar, good for you for being a good sister. You're so right about imagination.

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  17. Assalaamu Alaikum,
    we've seen those images here on Al Jazeera English. They by far do the best job of reporting what's really going on there. The image i can not get out of my mind is one of a man speaking to a reporter while holding his dead 7 month old son in his hands. It brings tears to my eyes even now. And this was not his only loss. It is heart wrenching to see.

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  18. Robyn, does AlJazeera English air all over the US? That sounds awful.

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  19. assalamu alaykum sis mona - i received this is my inbox this morning.. maybe something will be helpful to your little ones:

    The following advice can be taken by parents to help their children cope:

    1. We need to be receptive to our children's feelings. When children express fear or worry about what they see or hear, the role of the parents is to accept these feelings from their children as being natural. They need to convey to their children that everyone has these feelings – even adults. When a child knows that his or her feelings are normal, and that he or she is not alone in feeling fear, it allows the child to cope more positively with that fear, especially when he or she sees that the big people who share such fears continue to go about their daily activities in a normal manner.

    2. We must not criticize the fear our children feel or deny their feelings. Many parents say things like: "There is no reason to be afraid" or: "Don't be frightened." They believe that such statements placate their children's fears. This is not the case. By denying the feelings that our children are experiencing, we actually aggravate their fears, because they feel that they are doing something wrong for feeling the way they do. They need to know that everyone feels fear, just like they do.

    3. We need to encourage our children to communicate their feelings. Some children need to put their feelings in worlds before they can deal with those feelings. Moreover, some children confuse their genuine feelings with imaginary ones. Just talking about what they feel gives many children comfort, since they know that they have an outlet whenever they come under stress. As parents, we need to encourage communication and also accept from them what they feel, without criticism or condemnation, as we have already explained.

    4. We need to answer their questions honestly. In the face of such a crisis, children will definitely have many questions going through their minds. Moreover, the fertile imaginations that children possess can make them construct things in their minds that have no grounds in reality. This is why it is critical – no matter how complicated or silly our children's questions might seem to us as parents – that we do our best to answer those questions accurately and honestly. If we do not know the answer, we should be able to say: "I do not know."

    Honest answers help children to distinguish what is reality from the constructs of their imaginations. If children cannot find answers from the people they look up to, their imaginations will run wild.

    5. We can help our children to describe what they are feeling. After a child speaks about what he or she feels, it is possible for the parents to identify or describe that feeling for the child. For instance, a parent can say: "You are scared for your brothers and sisters in Palestine." or: "You are worried that the same thing could happen to us here."

    Helping to put their feelings into words does not make things worse, like some people think. Rather, it helps children psychologically, allowing them to better understand what is going through their minds, and by letting them know that the people around them understand and respect their feelings.

    6. We must teach our children how to best cope with their fears. By showing sympathy for our children's fears, we help our children to overcome them. When a child says that he or she is frightened that bombs will fall on the house, it is an opportunity to explain to the child that such things are indeed frightening but they are taking place far away. We should feel worried, but not for ourselves, but rather for our brothers and sisters over there who are living through the tragedy. We can take this occasion to teach our children to supplicate to Allah to protect and help them.

    7. We should channel their feelings in positive ways. Children are more disposed than older people to feel sympathy for others and make sacrifices for them. We can ask our children to make suggestions how we can help our brothers and sisters in Gaza. Maybe the children can donate some of his or her money – no matter that it is very little – to grant relief to the victims of the tragedy. This increases their sense of solidarity while reducing their feelings of fear. It increases the desire of the children to be more charitable in their future lives, and to be more ready supplicate to Allah to help those who are suffering.

    8. We should use the occasion to teach our children. Many children do not appreciate what they have. They are born into a life where they are blessed with a comfortable home, enough food to eat, and toys to play with. They take all of this for granted. When they are disturbed by a tragedy like what is taking place in Gaza, we can use the opportunity to teach our children the importance of thanking Allah for the blessings that He has bestowed upon us. We can make our children aware of the fact that others do not have these things that we take for granted. There are children who do not have the food that maybe our children disdain to eat. Parents can remind their children that what they complain about cannot be compared to the suffering the children of Gaza are going through who have lost almost everything except their hope in Allah.

    9.We must explain what our faith in Allah teaches us about life's difficulties. We need to explain to our children that the trials Allah deems to have the people of Gaza endure is also part of His love for His creatures. Allah graces those in adversity with the chance to show patience and to strengthen their faith in the certainty of His promise. In this way, we teach our children how they, as believers, can cope better with adversity in their own lives.

    10. We need to show our children that we love them. Sometimes children need to be reassured that their parents will do everything to protect them from what frightens them. They need to know that their parents are there for them. We need to hug our children and kiss them when we see that they are frightened or under stress. At the same time, depending on the child's age, we need to give the child confidence that Allah, in His wisdom, has decreed everything for humanity and that we must rely on Allah and go on with our lives, though there are dangers out there.

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  20. When 9/11 happened, my son was 8 years old. The constant coverage was even too much for adults, much less kids. We only watched it at night after he was in bed and kept the TV off the rest of the time. The truth needs to be shown but parents need to use discretion when kids are around. Seeing those images can deeply affect them. Sorry your little one happened to see it.

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