Taxing talk

Wed 16th Apr 2008 by Ben Palmer.

Harry and Emily love art. They love SMart and SMarteenies as well, and regularly watch more CBBC than CBeebies now, often catching Newsround. However, I don't know if they saw the coverage of Mark Speight's death on the programme.

The coverage, which I also missed, has evoked much sentiment and anger, I read. Why is this? Do we think that children cannot cope with death? Must we shield them from All That Is Bad?

What then when it happens closer to home? How will they cope with it?

It is important for children to understand the process of life, of aging and of death - but we can teach them this without instilling fear and uncertainty, without the gore and trauma, and without the stigma of suicide in this particular case. Which is what I understand the BBC did.

It can't be better to say nothing, even when they notice that a presenter has left their favourite program without saying goodbye - that would be too big a betrayal of their love and confidence.

Children are wiser than we sometimes credit them for, and they need to understand, but in a way that makes them feel safe and loved - even if that means we do have to face up to our own fears and insecurities.

There are only two certainties in this life, and children really don't need to know about tax just yet - that's too cruel.

tags: valley

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