How to talk to children about war
Special to the Post Independent
As a parent, you may already feel the phenomenal responsibility of raising your child in a world wrought with conflict.
Even in times of peace it’s a challenge for many of us to impart to our children the values we want them to carry into adulthood. Now we have the added weight of war.
It might be helpful to remember that young children do not yet understand cause and effect. Many of them still live in a world where they see themselves as somehow responsible for everything that happens around them.
They are also keenly aware of the emotional tone in their homes and take on responsibility for that as well. Even if they don’t understand what is happening, they certainly understand that something is happening.
It is our job to shield them from the harmful effects of exposure to the media representation of war.
It’s our job to create a sense of well being and safety in their world.
It’s our job to protect them from the constant onslaught of information regarding the ugly realities of the world right now.
How? Well you can start by maintaining the rituals and routines in your life. Spend time doing things with your children close to nature. Take walks, go to the river, go to the park.
Spend quiet time together. Listen. Open yourself up to their questions and put some thought into how you will answer them always including in your answers reassurance that they are safe.
Turn off your TV! Turn off your radio! Limit adult conversations in their presence.
And finally, take care of yourself. It’s the single most important part to being able to take the best care of your family.
You would do whatever was necessary to protect your child from physical harm. If you can come to see visual and auditory accounts of the war as paramount to an actual physical assault in terms of what it does to children, then you will find the strength and ability to keep them from being exposed.
Sean Jeung of Glenwood Springs consults with parents through Peace by Piece Parenting.
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