One of the world’s most ruthless and notorious dictators is dead. Maummar Gaddafi’s 42 year reign of oppression and terror ended yesterday in his home town of Sirte as the people of Libya realized their long and bloody fight for freedom.
No one can deny the enormous sense of jubilation and justice felt on the part of the Libyan people who had suffered for generations at the hands of a sociopath. But, could all the repetitive news footage on the TV and internet of adults openly celebrating the killing of one dictator or terrorist after another, or the graphic pictures of blood soaked corpses being dragged through the streets send mixed messages to our children about death or even desensitize them to violence? Worse still, might they start to associate feelings of joy and exuberance to acts of violence (no matter how well justified that violence may be)?
James Smithers, President of Polaris Counseling offered this thought, “Our responsibility as parents is two-fold. We must first be as diligent as possible in screening the information that reaches our kids. The type of information that we allow them to view should vary depending on their age. Secondly, we need to talk to our kids about what is happening. In an age-appropriate way, we need to help them understand what it might be like to be liberated from man that has committed horrific crimes against it people and reinforce that it is not usual or customary to celebrate death in this way. As parents, our level of engagement and communication with our children is paramount in determining how they process and receive information. We truly have the power to shape our children’s experience in almost any situation.”