Preparing our children for terrorist attacks — Good Parenting

Pat and Hen

Andrea Garvey is guest posting Good Parenting this week for Deborah Wood

Pat and HenPreparing our children for terrorist attacks — Good Parenting

Yesterday morning as I typed away at Chesapeake Family Magazine’s office, my colleague walked in and asked where my husband was. There was a shooting at the Navy Yard. My husband, a Navy Captain, works in D.C. My children were at the Naval Academy Primary School on the Navy Annex Annapolis and my nephew at the Naval Academy. Almost all the men in my life were potentially on a base and targets of terror.

Family threat

Yesterday. we were the lucky ones and safe. Yet the day’s events on our home front highlight the danger military families face every day. The military is not just made up of the warriors who fight abroad, but of their families and mission support who live, work, and go to school on bases throughout the United States.

Work place and school violence is not new, but the seemingly endless violent events, even in some of the most secure environments, beg the question about how we as spouses and parents talk to each other about violence. Should we talk to our youngest children about what to do if a shooter enters their classroom? Should we have evacuation and meeting plans with our spouses? Should we prepare and plan for terrorist acts on our home front and how much?

My husband and I were on the phone within minutes of the shooting and by the time I picked up the kids, we made the decision to talk to our 3- and 4-year-old sons about what we consider Stranger-Danger events. Duck, hide, cover your head, play dead. Both of us vividly remember practicing hurricane and earthquake drills, so why shouldn’t we confront terrorism the same way? Why not give our children the tools they may need to survive? We are not stockpiling food and weapons and waiting for Armageddon, but we are being realistic about the world we live in, the dangers we face, and the overwhelming will we have that our children have skills they need to meet even the worst outcomes.

Andrea Garvey is the new web editor at Jefferson Communications. She is the mother of three boys and a Navy wife of six years.