THE mother of four discusses family life in her weekly column. Today, Peta – who is married to cycling great Mark Cavendish – talks about finding the right balance when it comes to sharing bad news with children.

I THINK we can all agree the world is far from sunshine and roses at the moment.

 Peta Todd explains that our world is a fragile place at the minute and children need to understand it


Peta Todd explains that our world is a fragile place at the minute and children need to understand itCredit: Stewart Williams – The Sun

Whether it’s rising knife crime, the spread of coronavirus or the staggering effects of deteriorating mental health, it seems like every time you switch on the TV or open social media there is a heartbreaking new headline.

A story that makes us reach out to our loved ones, touch them and keep them close.

Sometimes I have to physically shake my head, as if to dislodge the fear or worry from settling and my mind running away with itself.

If I feel that way as an adult, with all the information I have access to, how do we find a balance between our children being up-to-date with current affairs – and issues that will ultimately shape their futures – without placing too much shadow and fear in their minds?

I don’t mean briefing my daughter Frey, four, and son Casper, one, on the volatile relationship between President Trump and North Korea, say.

But I do think my eight-year-old Delilah is mature enough to have an awareness of our voting system and she needs to understand how important it is to protect our fragile planet.

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 She doesn't want to scare her children and we need to believe in the good in people


She doesn’t want to scare her children and we need to believe in the good in people

My eldest, Finnbar, who’s 14, will pose questions about world issues and raise fears his peers have mentioned or that he has seen on social media. This sometimes worries me.

Of course, I worry about him going out into the big, bad world – and I want him to be vigilant and keep safe.


But I don’t want to scare him from going out at all. So what is the balance? How do you promise your children nothing bad will happen in a world full of bad things?

I have always leaned on the saying of US kids’ television presenter Fred Rogers: “Look for the helpers.”

In every disaster, and with every senseless act of terror, we should look at the ordinary people running TOWARDS it to help. You have to believe in the good in people.

Even when you are shown the poor side of humanity and we are appalled by actions of others, there is always someone trying to help.

We should look toward that crack of light working its hardest to break through the clouds.
I don’t like dumbing things down or making up fairytales to protect my children.

Sure, I edit sometimes. But I think that through sharing information and having conversations with our next generation, our future will be in safer hands.

If they think life is all Peppa Pig and rainbows – and that us adults have it all sussed out – we have no hope.

In fact, we have the potential to raise bright minds who can change the world for the better.

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