Experts explain how to talk to kids about war

Experts explain how to talk to kids about war
Published: Feb. 28, 2022 at 8:35 PM EST
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JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - For young people, the sights and sounds of war across Ukraine are prompting questions.

“The question that was asked was something about ‘Are we at war?’” Olivia Salter, a parent and school counselor said.

Kids are looking to parents for answers.

“It’s a tough middle ground because I think as parents we need to be able to have tough conversations with our children,” Salter said.

However, some experts say if your child isn’t coming to you with questions, you should find out what they know before you dive into a conversation.

“I think asking them or talking to them about what they’re seeing or what they’ve seen online,” Anastasia Arauz, a licensed therapist in Jacksonville said.

Also, depending on the age of the child, Arauz says, “Follow their lead. You wanna follow what they’re saying to you and guide your information based on what they know.”

Experts recommend keeping concepts basic and not sharing details that are too scary.

“...not to concern them too much, where they feel like it’s something threatening to their lives right now,” Salter said.

And perhaps the best way to combat worry and fear is reassurance.

“I think the biggest job of a parent is the safe factor, how you’re going to keep them safe and what you do in their home to keep them safe and how as a country we’re keeping them safe,” Arauz said.

Experts say that if kids are having a hard time understanding the situation, show them on a map so they can better understand the context.

Additionally, it might help to limit kids’ screen time, so parents can control how much they’re learning about this difficult topic.

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