Huffpost Parents
THE BLOG

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Dr. Margaret Rutherford Headshot

How Do Parents React to Violence Against Children?

Posted: Updated:
PARENTS HOLDING HANDS
Getty Images

This time it was kids almost killing another kid.

Wisconsin. Two 12-year-old girls are charged with stabbing another girl with a knife, multiple times, purportedly following the "rules" of some Internet story involving Slenderman.

She crawled for help and is alive.

We all hug our own children. We look around for blame.

The Internet? The parents? The schools? Lack of faith in our culture?

Why is it that we search so hard for something, someone to blame?

It is self-protective. We try to barricade ourselves from the horror of it all.

To find a shield to believe that it will never happen to us. Or the ones we love, especially our children.

"That child must be mentally off to do something like that. My child makes A's and B's."

"Those parents must be awful. I am my son's baseball coach."

"Those kids probably are on the Internet for hours. You know I only let my kid be on the Internet for an hour a day."

Parenting is the scariest thing I have ever done. And the frightening thing is loving someone that much, then not having complete control over whether they are safe. Or get sick. Or get hurt.

Of course that's the most joyous thing as well. Loving in that way.

I don't know what happened in Wisconsin. The people there will have to live with the consequences of their actions. r lack of action. All involved will be haunted forever by the events of that day.

What I am trying to suggest is that we all don't rush to push away the sadness of it. It's tragic all around. And scary.

It's scary to put your child in a car and wave good-bye. Or on a plane. Or leave them at school. Or just let them grow up.

We leave them, or they leave us. We are not in control anymore. We actually are not really in control when we are with them either. But we have more information.

Random violence. Bad luck. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Human error. Human cruelty.

All of that can happen.

We all have to live normally or we will go nuts.

Tolerating ambiguity. Not knowing. It's a life skill.

We do not let the fear in. We keep it at bay. Go on.

If you don't, you develop panic attacks. Obsess. Worry constantly. Become extremely controlling.

What is it the British say? Developed when it was predicted London and other cities were to be bombed.

Keep calm and carry on.

That doesn't mean we don't take in the information. Try to learn from it. As people. As a culture.

So what do you do?

Talk to your children in an age-appropriate way about it.

Keep involved in a healthy way. Keep tuned in to them. Know as much as you can.

But you have to let them go.