"Mom, What's the Death Penalty?"

Sometimes our kids bring home questions from school that stop you cold. My 5th grader is not allowed to watch much TV, and has never seen the news while in my care. But, the world is big and more and more it creeps into her conversations with peers in school. And so it was that she found out about the execution of Troy Davis, a man many believed was demonstrably innocent.

How do we talk to children about the Death Penalty?

My daughter is deeply interested in the world and pays a lot of attention even when I try to shield her from it. Many of you have children and grandchildren who also probably know more than you'd like as well. I don't know how you prepare ourselves to have these kinds of discussions.

I tried to do what they tell you to do when talking to children about sex: Answer only what the child is asking. Stop if the child is obviously uncomfortable. Don't offer additional information unless the child asks more. Let your values guide you. Use books and other resources that reflect your values and beliefs. I don't know of any children's books that discuss the death penalty, so I did the best I could.

Read what I said here: "Life Lessons: Mom, What is the Death Penalty?"

Pamela Cytrynbaum

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