Opinion: The Manchester attack is a new kind of terror for parents

OPINION: When news started to filter through about the Manchester Arena bombing, I turned the television onto The Wiggles for my three little boys and left the room.

Then I sat on my son's bed and cried. I cried for all the mothers and fathers who wouldn't get to tuck their children into bed that night. Who will never kiss their babies again, who will never get to see their children grow up and have children of their own and go off to work and university.

My boys are of an age where they are just starting to love pop music. Bruno Mars is a favourite, Beyonce, Ariana Grande too. My husband and I have often imagined life when they are older, of pop star posters on their bedroom walls, of dropping them off to concerts with their friends.

Now I wonder if I will ever want to let them go to concerts or big sporting events when they are older. Does that mean the terrorists have won?

It's different this time, too. They targeted children and teenagers. Kids so excited about a concert they probably begged and pleaded with their mums and dads to let them go with their friends, placating them with a ''dont-worry-mum-it-will-be-safe-what-could-possibly-happen-to-us-there?''.

For many it would have been their first taste of the grown-up world they have been so desperate to join. The first thrill of independence (''No dad, I will meet you outside in the car park!)''.

The phrase ''a parent's worst nightmare'' can sometimes be used too casually. But not this time. If anything happened to one of my children, if one of them was taken away from me, I would follow them to the grave. Having a baby fills you with love so strong it knocks you off your feet but the flip side of that is a daily terror buried in the pit of your stomach that today might be the day that something bad happens to them.

To think of those mothers calling cell phones that won't answer, walking the streets looking for their babies, it's too much.

What can you say about people who target children and teenagers at a pop concert? Evil, certainly. Depraved, sick, psychopathic? All of those thing, yes. Should we be angry and frustrated and want to scream until we are hoarse? Of course.

But there's not the red hot anger this time that's bubbled to the surface after previous recent terror attacks in Europe. Instead I, like I am sure so many others across the world, can only sit down and realise the enormity of what has happened and try not to let the breath catch in our throat and the tears to start again.

As a parent you want protect your children as much as you can. You teach them not to run across the road, and not to talk to strangers, or get in a car with a drunk driver, or take drugs, or get into fights.

How do we tell them now that their own world, of pop stars and music concerts and spending time with friends, is not safe either?

It's just not fair.

Angela Cuming is a journalist and writer who lives in Hamilton with her three young sons.