To effectively communicate about the war to your child will be an essential task parents need to learn and adapt to suit the needs of their child!
Although we have had serious talks with our children about the recent pandemic and events of 9/11, our children have yet to experience the threat of war in their lifetime. And even though our children are far removed from the violence, we still need to talk to them about the conflict. They have likely learned about the war at some point from friends, teachers, and social media, yet a conversation with you as parents can ease their minds and make them feel more secure.
Bringing Up the Subject
Words like terrorism and war are scary even for adults, and it can be terrifying for children who might not understand the concept or facts about the war. Therefore, it is essential only to give age-appropriate information to your child regarding the war. Even if you choose to shelter your younger children by switching off the television or monitoring social media, you need to keep the lines of communication open. Always start with asking them how much they have seen or heard about the war and do they have any questions or concerns. This should guide you in knowing how much information and facts to pass on.
While you are teaching your child about respect, kindness, and compassion, it can be a stark contrast to topics about war. It will never be easy to explain why some people want to hurt others intentionally. But, for many children, it can be upsetting and even frightening.
- If your child brings the subject up, remember to be age-appropriate and that the information given is in a manner that they will understand.
- It is essential to let them know that the war is not happening directly near them and that they are not in danger.
- First and foremost, our job as parents is to reassure them that they are safe.
- Children should never be forced into talking about the war.
- If your child seems disinterested or unaware of the conflict, do not push it.
- Do not overwhelm your child with unnecessary information.
How To Communicate About the War and Its Purpose
- Children are curious creatures and will want to know WHY?
- Keep your explanation as simple and clear as possible.
- Explain how war is meant to prevent worse things from happening in the future.
- You could also talk about how war is intended to protect specific populations.
- Most importantly, stress that violence is never a good way to resolve conflict.
Do Not Stereotype
The last thing we would want is our children developing prejudices.
- Be careful with the statements you make, no matter your political views.
- Focus on being informative and educational.
- You can share with your children that you disagree with the war, especially if you feel it is part of your family’s belief and value system.
- Once your child is older and enters their teen years, they will have formed their own opinions and ideas regarding the war.
- If you and your teen disagree intensely about your views, try and avoid arguing and getting angry.
Communicate about the War and Compassion
- Educate your children about military service and what it all entails.
- If your child knows someone from school who has a family member serving in the military, it will be easier to talk about how the families may be affected.
- Explaining to your child that the family may need a little extra help is an excellent lesson in compassion.
- Talk to your child about refugees who have to flee to different countries and leave everything they own and know behind.
- Let your child know that there are causes that you can donate to. Feeling that they are helping in any small way will comfort them.
- Small acts like donating loose change to a charity or making up a care package will go a long way towards helping your child learn compassion.
The Good Within the Bad
While communicating with our kids about serious subjects, we always need to find even one positive. Tell and, where possible, show your child the brave and heroic deeds of the charities and organizations helping the people who have been affected. Be it food, shelter, or medical supplies. There are always some angels behind the chaos.