Children’s first hope for protection is to receive it from their parents. They get a sense of safety and security – especially during martial law.
When a conflict or war hits the headlines, it causes feelings of fear, sadness, anger, and anxiety that reverberate throughout your family.
These are a few tips on starting a conversation with your child and how to show them your support.
- You need to know how your children feel.
Choose the right time and place for a conversation. This could be during a family dinner or a walk in the fresh air. With younger children, it’s best to start a conversation while drawing or doing something together. It is better to avoid talking about this topic before going to bed.
Since information reaches our children in various ways, we need to check how they receive it. Ask what news your child has and what they saw and heard. Analyze what emotions this news has caused in your child and where they got this news from.
Young children may be afraid of the images they see on TV and believe they are real. They may not be able to distinguish between news about their own country and events happening far away. When this occurs, they feel they are in danger.
The strange question, “Are we all going to die?” Often confuses parents. Children need to be reassured this will not happen. Try to find out what provoked your child to ask such a question. If you understand where the anxiety comes from, it will be easier to calm them down.
Don’t deny the feelings of your child, and just reject them. Confirm to them that everything is fine. Show your child that you want to understand and feel things from their point of view. Show how important it is when you are talking with them.
- Be calm and balanced
It is perfectly normal to feel anxious and sad about what is happening. But the main thing to remember is that children sense their parents’ emotional state. You need to control your emotions and not tell your child about your fears. Don’t forget to watch your facial expressions as well. Do not reflect on your face everything that you feel inside you. Keep reminding your children that everything will be fine and nothing threatens them. Explain that so many people worldwide are trying to end conflict and work hard to protect you.
- Do not heat up the situation in the family with your expressions.
When communicating with children, avoid using bad words and discussing bad news in front of them. It is better to discuss good news or topics such as how you can help others. This approach will evoke a sense of compassion in children instead of aggression.
Tell your child that everyone deserves to be safe in society. And no one has the right to subject another to bullying and violence. By doing this, you contribute to spreading kindness to the next generation.
- Focus on helping each other
It is essential to understand that helping others shows kindness and courage. Think of stories about rescue heroes or people calling for peace. The realization that you are doing even the smallest thing for someone brings great inner peace. Check if your child wants to take the initiative and participate in positive actions. This could include drawing a picture or writing a verse supporting peace. And this is only the start
- End Conversations Carefully
At the end of the conversation, you need to ensure that you do not leave your child upset. Make sure to assess the level of anxiety, watch the body language, and pay attention to their tone of voice and how they breathe. Say that you care and are ready to listen and support them whenever they feel bad.
- Stay vigilant
It is necessary to notice any changes in the behavior and health of children. Signs of stress can range from stomach or headaches to nightmares and trouble sleeping. Everyone’s reaction is unique. Closeness is more common in younger children, and anger with aggressive behavior in adolescents. Sometimes this is normal and does not last long. It is the body’s response to stressful situations. However, if this behavior is delayed, it is better to seek help from a specialist.
- Protect from the flow of news
Consider how often your children watch the news. Do not forget the number of sad images and unhappy headlines during this time will be excessive. For younger children, it’s best to avoid news altogether. With older children, use this as an opportunity to discuss and communicate about what is happening.
Children need positive moments. Give them more attention. This can be done by playing a game or going for a walk together. Their well-being depends on you.
- Take care of yourself
Children need to be certain that you are calm and feel good. Take some time for yourself, and don’t forget about your own recovery.