Talking to kids about 9/11

Esther - posted on 09/08/2011 ( 11 moms have responded )




I read this column today and have asked myself the some of the same questions about how to talk to kids about what happened on 9/11. My son is 3 so we're not talking about it yet, but living in the NYC area, I doubt we'll make it to age 9 (the age of the writer's kids) without discussing it with Lucas. Have any of you tackled this topic? How did you go about it?


Lacye - posted on 09/08/2011




To me, 9/11 is our generations version of Pearl Harbor. Yes, it happened, but to be honest our kids and grandkids are not going to be as affected as we think. They will learn it in school about how tragic it is but they will not be as moved about it as we were when it happened. It is history. That is all they will look at.

JuLeah - posted on 09/08/2011




People got mad and used violence instead of words.

People are trying now to find peaceful solutions – I added this because my daughter wanted to know how the people were going to learn to use words and not violence, then wanted to know about the efforts being made. We are involved in peace groups, she and I.

As she grows she understands, learns about more of the details.

It stared with buildings fell down and people got hurt.

Keep it simple. Add more if questions are asked.

I have never followed expert advice and told my child this will never/can never happen again. It can and it might.


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Desiree - posted on 09/11/2011




I live in South Africa my daughter was 3 when all this happened. Now that she understands a lot more and asks me questions I answer as best as I can what I don't know I look up.

Emma - posted on 09/11/2011




I live in Britain and I talk to my 5 year old about it. He asks lots of questions because it is obviously a prominent issue in the news at the moment (and I have been watching some programs about it). I told him the basics of what happened and he was happy with that (I did not go into details). I feel that it is important for him to try to understand these issues and although he is too young to fully understand it he knows that it is a sad time and lots of people died. If he asks me any more questions I will do my best to answer them for him too because I think it is important for him to know what is happening across the world.

If I was living in ny then I think even more that I would talk to him about what happened....but I would let him lead the conversation, doing my best to answer any questions he had.

[deleted account]

I did a unit on it when I taught fourth grade. There are some excellent children's books out there that handle the subject appropriately. There's even a sweet book called September 12th...written by elementary school children. My students especially liked, "The Man Who Walked Between Two Towers". It's not about 9/11, but it touches on the events at the end of the book. The children I taught that year were only 3 when it happened. I think that through literature and having open conversations, they were able to understand.

Kathleen - posted on 09/08/2011




So far our 3 yr old only sees the pictures on the television, he does know the difference between pretend in movies and real. He asked the other day why did those go boom? That isn't one of my movies (he calls ALL movies his movies *shakes head* for a 3yr old all I could do was say some bad people did that and it wasn't very nice. He replied, "that's no good, and looked at the tv and said you be nice! my mama said so!" not to take away or make the topic lightened in anyway, that comment did make me giggle a little. I do think it does depend on age, how much the child knows, of course probably up to third grade they would not even deal with any topics like this. Towards fifth, middle, and high school they will. Only thing you can do is be as objective as can be and give them the information if they ask. As DS gets older the information will be added, and detailed on, but since he is only 3 I can only keep it very simple.

Lady - posted on 09/08/2011




I talk to my two older chldren about it - they know all the facts but then they are 13 and almost 11 - the younger ones will hear about it as they got older, it's something so significant even though we were thousands of miles away in the UK.

Esther - posted on 09/08/2011




I don't think we (personally) could leave it up to history teachers though. As I said we live in the NYC area. My husband recently took my son to the NYPD museum in the city and previously we had taken him to the FDNY museum. We just went because of the fire trucks and police cars etc. since Lucas is really into that, but they both had a very prominent 9/11 memorial exhibition as well. We didn't really get into it with him on either occassion but you know there will come a point where he's going to start asking questions about it.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 09/08/2011




Have the kids history books been changed? I wonder how the schools are approaching this. To the people who have lived through it, either directly or indirectly, it was an awful experience. Unfortunately, it is a piece of American History now. What grade do they take American History in? My kids are to young to even think about this as a concern yet.

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