Over the past couple of years, we’ve had to talk to our kids about some really difficult topics: the pandemic, racism, and now we can add to the list, war.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been broadcast more than most wars on social media, T.V. and podcasts. Tragic images have been published, interviews with evacuees are streaming, and the news seems to worsen with each day.
Perhaps you’re protecting your child from the news, but if he has a smartphone or a friend with one, chances are he’s heard about this war, and he’s probably confused, worried or scared.
We live in an age where it’s nearly impossible to keep big news stories from our children. The news is simply too prolific and too available on too many platforms. If you’re seeing multiple messages a day about a tragedy or horrific event, your child probably is too. Which begs the question, how do you talk to your child about war?
While this topic is weighty and complicated and will depend on your individual child, family and needs, I do have some guidance on how to navigate this difficult conversation with your child.
1. Don’t avoid the conversation.
If your child is asking you about the war in Ukraine, or if you know your child is hearing about it, don’t avoid talking about it. We tend to think talking about difficult things with our child will only make her more afraid, but the truth is avoiding talking about an event your child already knows about will simply allow her questions to go unanswered. That’s what will make her more afraid.
Don’t avoid the conversation for the sake of your child’s fears; have the conversation and make it a priority.
(If your child is under the age of seven and hasn’t asked you about the conflict yet, don’t initiate a conversation. Wait until she asks about it.)