How to Talk to Your Kids About the Death of Osama Bin Laden

Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children. -President Barack Obama

Now, how do we explain this to our children? How, indeed, can we explain a sequence of events we, ourselves, don’t fully understand? How do we explain to our children that, yes, we have been teaching them that in seeking revenge we wreak vengeance on ourselves, but yes, those are good Americans dancing over the death of this unrepentant mass killer? I’m not saying the dancing is wrong, though I haven’t danced. I’m asking, how do we explain it? Do we let our children see that our hearts were irretrievably broken a decade ago? Do we let them know we often feel a gulping terror and helplessness to protect them in a world turned topsy turvy one bright, September morning when regular people by the thousands were tortured and murdered just for going to work? Just for getting on a plane? Just for being American?

Do we try to explain it at all?

I asked child psychologist Dr. Molly Kuzmich, and here’s what she said:

It’s a place to start. Thank you, Dr. Kuzmich.

-Bonnie

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