What to tell children about jubilation over bin Laden killing

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Throughout their young lives, children are taught that killing is wrong.  So, how confusing it must be for little ones who see adults cheering in the streets because Osama bin Laden has been shot to death.

For some, it's been unsettling to watch crowds of people in the streets cheering in celebration of the killing of Osama bin Laden-- even though those same people no doubt feel relief that public enemy number one is no longer a threat to American citizens. Yet it must be confusing for children who have been taught from an early age that killing is wrong when they see adults celebrating a death. Scott Riviere is a licensed professional counselor who specializes in children and adolescents. "Situations like this when people do die, especially when they're killed or murdered, always bring up a lot of questions and confusion from kids."

So, what do you do if a child says, "Mama, isn't killing a sin?" Riviere says it's a good opportunity for a discussion about values. "Parents values toward this can create a great discussion for your kids and trying to explain to them, you know when you do have a person in the world who is willfully not changing and choosing to end other people's lives, there are times where measures have to be taken and that can even challenge our own values and our own religious beliefs."

Riviere points out some images of war and its aftermath can be upsetting for young children. "A lot of the things that kids see have a tremendous amount of violence in them and if they're seeing images of people who have been killed and blood and carnage, a lot of times, especially for kids who are anxious, it can be very disturbing and frightening."

He suggests parents do what they can to shield small ones.

For a link to see what moms are saying about discussing 9/11 and the killing of Osama bin Laden click here.  Here's a site with advice for advice on what's appropriate for which age.  For a more general link about talking to kids about death click here.