When Will We Value the Lives of Children?

When Will We Value the Lives of Children?

Do we have our priorities straight? On May 24, 2022, 19 children were brutally murdered at their elementary school by a mass shooter. The children’s bodies were so torn up by the assault weapon that parents had to provide DNA samples so the corner could identify the bodies. All the funerals had to have closed caskets because the children’s bodies were too mutilated to have an open casket. Today is only June 5th and there have already been over 300 mass shootings since the shooting in Texas on May 24th (Gun Violence Archive). Even with these numbers of shootings and people being injured and killed, the Republicans in the Senate cannot vote for safer, sane gun laws.

These shootings are not new to our Country. In 1999, there was the Columbine High School shooting, then the Sandy Hook Elementary School, then the Parkland High School shooting and now the Robb Elementary School shooting in Texas. This is not a complete list of school shootings. Besides schools there have been mass shootings in churches and shopping malls. Every time we see this is enough and we need to reform gun laws. However, the Republicans in the Senate have continued to debate gun reform laws or to vote on any gun reform laws to protect children. All they do are to offer thoughts and prayers. Thoughts and prayers are not going to solve the problem. It reminds me of the man who drowns and he asked God, why didn’t you answer my prayers and safe me. God said I sent a two boats and a plane but you refused them. We cannot expect God to take care of everything. We have to take action to solve the mass shooting issue too.

While we are not discussing how to protect children, there is a bill in the Senate to provide more protection for judges from mass shooters. Last year a judge’s, 20 year old son was shot at their house. Last week another judge was shot and killed at his home. The judges do not deserve to be shot, but they are public servants. People getting angry at them is part of their job. Yes they need added protection so they are not being killed, but the school children should be protected first.

The bill is being delayed in the Senate because Republican Senator Lyndsey Graham, who states the school shootings do not require gun reform, wants members of the Senate including in the bill in addition to the judges. They won’t discuss gun reform when childrens lives are at stake, but when it involves their lives we need gun reform and can discuss it.

In my opinion this is disgusting. The parents in Texas had to give DNA samples because their child’s body was so torn up that the corner could not identify them. This is happening at all the mass shootings. These AR15 guns are weapons of war and the bullet explodes inside the body tearing the body to pieces. No child deserves to die this way and no parent should have to hear we need DNA to identify their child. The Senators and judges are public servants and people do make threats against them. It is part of their jobs. Given this fact, we should be protecting our children first.

However, we are not protecting our children. The Republicans in the Senate are using their positions to protect themselves first and the children may be one day. Remember Columbine occurred in 1999. We have been waiting since 1999 for gun reform to protect children. A judge’s son was killed 23 months ago and there is already a bill on the Senate floor. Children and families have been waiting for 23 years for the Senate to protect children. The judges and Senators only had to wait less than 2 years. What is wrong with our priorities when we will allow children to die for 23 years and not doing anything seriously to protect children, but when the Senators and judges are at risk, they move with lightning speed. No one is just offering judge’s thoughts and prayers. The Republican Senators are acting to protect the judges, but do nothing for the children.

Parents need to act. Parents need to call Senators and demand that they put the children first. The must demand that the Senate pass safe, sane gun reform that will protect children. They need to focus on the children before they focus saving their own lives. Look at how many mass shootings have been occurring. Do you want a corner to ask you for a DNA sample so they can identify your child’s body. It can happen easier than you think. Look at how many mass shootings have been occurring and they are happening every where. We need safe, sane gun reform today! Please do not let the Republican Senators drag their feet. The next shooting may involve someone you love and then it will be too late.

Dr. Michael Rubino is a psychotherapist with over 25 years experience treating children, teenagers and trauma victims including first responders. For more information about Dr. Rubino’s work please visit his website at www.RubinoCounseling.com or his Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/drrubino3 or his podcasts on Spotify or Apple.

Dealing with Father’s Day when Dad is gone

Dealing with Father’s Day when Dad is gone

Many people assume Father’s Day is a happy day for people because they can honor their father. However, due to the pandemic and deaths due to the pandemic, Father’s Day this year maybe a very difficult day. We have many adults and children who are grieving the death of their father or grandfather due to the coronavirus. Therefore, making it a sad day for them. Remember over 1,000,000 Americans have died due to the Coronavirus. Many people who died were fathers and grandfathers so there will be a lot of grieving families this Father’s Day. Additionally with the number of mass shootings, people may be grieving the death of a father or grandfather. Also if it was a school shooting, fathers may be grieving the lost of a child or a spouse. Again making Father’s Day a difficult day, not a happy day.

In addition to the Coronavirus, there are other reasons that Father’s Day maybe difficult for people and children. For some people their father may have died when they were children. For some people their father may have left them when they were children and they had to live in foster care. For others, their parents separated and their mother raised them and they rarely or maybe never saw their father. Finally, many people have lost their fathers, grandfathers and uncles over the year due to cancer, heart attacks and other diseases. Therefore, Father’s Day may not be a happy day. Also for children who were raised in foster care all their lives, today typically is a very difficult day. They were raised without biological family and feel left out of Father’s Day.

While this may not be a happy day for adults, it also can be a very difficult day for children too. Some children may be dealing with the recent death of their father. As I stated above, some children may have a father who died from the Coronavirus, cancer or in a mass shooting. Other fathers may have left the family due to a drug problem and are not involved with the family any longer. Seeing television commercials or having other family members tell them that it still can be a good day can be difficult for them. Also if their school or summer day camp are making Father’s Day gifts it can be difficult for children whose fathers have died or left the family.

I work with many of these children, I described above, in psychotherapy. Many don’t express their feeling, but they tend to deal with the emotional pain by acting out. They may be very oppositional during the week and on Father’s Day as away to express their feelings. Other children may isolate themselves and not want to be involved with anyone or anything having to do with Father’s Day.

I have had parents ask me how they should handle Father’s Day when a parent has passed away or left the family. They understand that it is a difficult day, but they do not know what to do in order to help their children.

My recommendation is let the child cope with the day in the way they need to. Try not to make an issue about the day. The other thing I recommend to a parent is to talk to their child. Acknowledge that Father’s Day may be difficult but it is just one day. They may have a rough day today but tomorrow is another day. It is important that you understand that Father’s Day is difficult for them and you understand if they are upset or don’t want to do anything. I also recommend to a parent, when a parent has passed away, to ask the child if there is anything they may want to do to remember their father. A child may want to release a ballon with a note, they may want to visit the cemetery or they may want to do something for an uncle or another male role model in their life. If they do have an idea, go with what they want to do. If they don’t have an idea, let them know that is okay. If they come up with an idea then you can do it. If they do not have an idea, then remind them it’s just one day that you all need to get through and tomorrow will be better.

This approach can help children whose father has left the family too. Many children may believe their father will return one day. Confronting this belief around Father’s Day is not the time to confront it. However, if they have an idea regarding how they want to honor their father, allow them to do it.

Hopefully this will help parents understand the issues their children may be dealing with on Father’s Day and make it easier for everyone.

Also as I stated above, with the mass shootings many fathers may be grieving the loss of their child or spouse. They may have had their child’s funeral the day before. Again, remember this is a very difficult time for a parent or spouse so allow them the freedom to deal with the day the way they want. Being there and being supportive is the best thing you can do for Fathers who are grieving and for children who are grieving.

Dr. Michael Rubino is a psychotherapist with over 25 years experience treating children and teenagers. For more information about Dr. Rubino’s work or private practice visit his website www.RubinoCounseling.com or on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/drrubino3 or his podcasts on Spotify or Apple.