Personal Blog

A Mother’s Fear: My Children Aren’t Phased By Terrorism

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After this week of terror, I knew that I had to sit down with my children and talk to them about what happened prior to getting them on the school bus. I didn’t want them to hear about the horror that was unleashed overseas from a friend in class. We all know how the game of Telephone goes! I felt that it was my duty to explain to them – in plain terms – what is going on in today’s world.

I sat on this task for several days, building up the courage and trying to find the right words, and with just minutes to spare I gave it my all.

I took my eldest aside and told her that she needed to hear about what the group ISIS was responsible for over the last few weeks – particularly focusing on France. She stopped me immediately and told me that she already knew. I didn’t understand how considering we didn’t put the news on in front of the children while at home. Turns out, while attending a play rehearsal at a local college this Saturday, her teacher stopped the children from singing “Let There Be Peace On Earth” and told them about the attacks. I guess the sound of young voices asking for peace while prepping for a Christmas play was too much for this gentleman and he felt the need to break the news to 10-year-olds without any notice given to their parents.

I was upset that this man took this moment away from me. I wanted to cushion it as much as possible for my babies, but I saw something in my daughter’s face that completely caught me by surprise. She wasn’t horrifically alarmed.

I asked her to tell me what she knew and she gave me very high level facts that were all on point. And then she asked me for a play date after school.

Have we gotten to the point where children are used to living in a state of war? Or is my daughter too young to truly process what has happened? I’m hoping it’s the latter but a 5th grader should have the reasoning and the comprehension to understand just how devastating these events were to the world.

The kids go through emergency drills that I never had to as a child. Yes, I had fire drills while in school… but we never had shooter drills. But they do… and it’s just normal.

Bombings are normal. Terrorism is normal. Learning to be prepared for the worse… normal. Part of life. Their every day.

She kissed me goodbye and walked to the bus stop and I sat in my chair numbed by the fact that I live in a day and age where the shock value of a terrorism attack is long gone.

Some might say she is continuing to live her life as we all should. Some might say I should follow in her footsteps. But I know where this road leads. I know that this story doesn’t have a good ending for any of us, and I just can’t. Especially, with the new ISIS video claiming new threats to America – specially Washington.

Have you seen this? Powerful. It’s happening all over the world RIGHT NOW. This very second. I think it’s just too much for our brains to grasp. I’m waiting for my Starbucks drink to come and another mother 8 hours away is fleeing with her children looking for safety. This is LIFE… but not everyone can see it.

Seeing my daughter’s response to the ISIS attacks really put my own reactions to the world’s issues into perspectives. I suppose I’ve been doing what she just did my entire adult life. I am aware of all these countries who are suffering through war and famine and terrorism. And what am I doing? I’m online shopping for new bath curtains. There is a huge disconnect with people who are safe and the true reality of this world. And I don’t know what my job is as a parent. Should I shelter my children – as I’ve OBVIOUSLY done so WONDERFULLY – and keep them feeling safe and unplugged from reality? Or should I try to make them understand the dangers of this new world? Why would I do the latter? I’m not sure I should. Why would I want to scare them that way? Maybe because I feel like I need to PREPARE them because something is coming? I don’t know. I feel hysterical. I know this isn’t one of my typical posts but today really hit me hard. Seeing Natalie just not … get it. And in turn, understanding that I don’t really get it either.

How do your children handle this sort of news? Do they have follow up questions? Are they looking for security from you? Do you have to calm them down and ease their minds? Or do they look at this new world as a given like my little ones do?

Vera Sweeney, mom, blogger, social media influencer and New York resident, is the founder of She is considered one of the top female digital influencers in today’s social media space. Her lifestyle and parenting brand helps busy women stay on top of the latest trends in fashion, food, family and travel.