Despite the peace keeping attempts, the conflict in the Ukraine continues to escalate with many refugees fleeing the country to escape the violent attacks by Russian troops. People around the world are saddened and devastated by the events that are unfolding. Both adults and young people are feeling the stresses of war from afar as they experience fear, frustration and helplessness.
Many children have questions about what is happening as they have most likely been exposed to upsetting images on the news or social media. There is strong evidence to suggest that having a supportive discussion about a stressful event can actually decrease distress. Therefore it is important for parents and caregivers to combat any misinformation and ensure they provide reliable information from reputable sources. Children need to know that they are taken seriously. So it is recommended that you don’t avoid the difficult questions. Ensure you address their questions honestly, sensitively and in a developmentally appropriate way.
Worry about the war in Ukraine is not all bad. It can mean that your child has empathy, which can even be productive. However, with less life experience than adults, young people may need help navigating news about the crisis. It is an opportunity for adults to model compassion towards others, regardless of distance or circumstance. Be guided by your child’s curiosity and conscious of not exposing them to the 24 hour news cycle.