At first, I thought I had a love/hate relationship with my child's 8th grade social studies teacher. I quickly realized I was wrong. He's great, a truly good and caring individual and I love that he is working to make his students informed, educated citizens.
It's the "informed" part that's tricky for me, though, because one of my child's assignments for his class it to watch the nightly news on television. Turns out, that's where the hate part comes in. There's an insane amount of hate on the nightly news.
It makes me want to curl up in the fetal position in the corner and suck my thumb. Turns out, that's not the right way to parent, or even the right way to adult.
But my least favorite part of being an adult is being unable to answer the question "why" when your child asks about the reason behind senseless deaths and immeasurable pain in the world.
Answering "I don't know" is so woefully inadequate.
I struggle with the fact that, although she's 13 years old, my daughter is still a child. An older one, of course, but a child nonetheless. And how can a child process the horror of mass shootings like the one in California yesterday, or the death of a 17-year-old shot 16 times by a police officer in Chicago?
With both of these events front and center in the news, many people have been asking me if I'm going to write about them, some saying I must do so.
Here's the thing. This blog is not political. It never has been, and I have no intention of making it so.
I've always believed that parents have an innate desire to do what's best for their children, including protecting them, and that the desire is felt equally by all parents, all along the spectrum of political thought and belief.
I've always tried to respect that there is no one right way to think, believe, or parent. Blog commenters and members of the Between Us Parents community have been kind and respectful, and I'm most grateful for that.
My intent with this blog is to share my experience, and the information I glean from them or because of them, to let parents of older kids know that they're not alone.
There isn't nearly so much sharing about our parenting struggles once they hit double digits, for a variety of reasons. As our children grow, the stakes are higher, the judgments harsher, and our kids' need for privacy increases.
Parenting tweens and teens isn't easy, but it's easier when you don't feel like you're the only one in the world facing the challenge.
So, in keeping with the intent behind my blog, I want you to know that you are most certainly not alone if you feel upset, helpless, angry, and incredibly sad when you see the news, and that you feel worse yet when you watch the news with your kids.
I hope you know that you are not the only parent who worries about what our children will face in this world.
You're not the only one who worries when you send them off in the morning, nor are you alone in exhaling with a silent prayer of thanks when you return to each other at the end of the day.
Please know that you are far from the only parent who wants to hug your babies and holds on just a second longer than usual.
If you feel that things need to change and need to change now, you're not alone.
I hate that some people suggest that our children will be the ones to find answers. It our job. We should be adults, and part of adulting means making hard choices that will make the world better for our children.
Prior Post: 3 good TEDx talks about kids and technology
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Filed under: Parenting