We have to admit that no matter how much we would limit internet access to our children, they are still exposed to a lot of disturbing videos and images both on television and social media and sometimes as parents we can definitely feel helpless in this situation. And in a current situation like the onset of war in Ukraine following Russia’s invasion, how do we Protect our children from such information that screams anxiety, fear, and violence in the world that we live in right now. As a parent we often find ourselves in a situation wondering how we help our children process information especially pertaining to news headlines. Because headlines are something that often radiates fear and anxiety or else concerns.
As parents we must have never thought that we would be in a warlike situation and be in a spot about how to explain it to our children. Several family therapists say that a circumstance like this can actually be used as a touch point with our children. We need to make a note that children who develop a sense of self confidence, self-esteem, and effective communication skills are typically grown up in an environment where their parents foster open communication. And if you are considering engaging in conversations related to Ukraine and Russia with your children, consider the following:
Normalize emotions and fear
We need to 1st educate orchids about the actual security of the situation and that this particular crisis is far away and it is nothing to be worried or be shamed about as it has enough potential to shut down the future lines of communication. Instead of urging them to keep their feelings within them we need to learn to teach them to manage those feelings on their own and we can do so by giving them the permission to express themselves at least to you. Also we need to make them understand that acknowledging to be afraid of what is happening in the world is completely okay. As parents we need to keep in mind that not all kids can be affected negatively.
As parents we must always ask the children about what information they have heard or what are you feeling about the war right now. This will give us as parents ample time to understand the information that our children are processing within themselves. And if there is any misinformation, we need to discount that out by letting them know the actual truth. And always remember that we need to empathize first before correcting their misperceptions.
You can tell them openly that you are scared to, or you are worried for the people whom it has impacted the most or even tell your kids that you are as upset as they are about what is happening right now in the world.
Share the right information about the war
Researching always helps and even in this case research and share the accumulated knowledge with your kids in order to ease confusion. Show them a world map and teach them facts about Russia and Ukraine, the difference between the cultures — sharing all these can demystify the event. Of course, you need to also consider the age of your child in order to share that much in-depth information with your kids.
After sharing all the information with your kids about the different groups of people in those two countries, the different political groups and their ideologies always leave the door open for further discussion. And one way to do this is by Living or asking open ended questions like – after knowing all of this how do you feel about that? Or what do you think about this? Or do you have any other questions relating to this?
Teach your children to take the right action
A crisis situation is the right time to inculcate in your kids the habits of giving and caring for the society or the world that we live in right now. We need to find ways for our kids to help us during a crisis by teaching them about the importance of donating to child-serving courses or humanitarian causes that help the victims who are impacted by a situation like an onset of war. By doing this we will give kids a sense of contribution and control which will help in easing the anxiety that they face while dealing with serious situations like this. Always remember that when your kid experiences anxiety, we need to evaluate what is under their control and what is not really in their control and only then help them find relief and deal with it.
Management of media intake
Now that we are talking about helping our children process a situation like that of an onset of green because of Russia’s invasion, we need to understand how much news and kids are able to observe and how much should we be limiting it to. As kids, their nature is very fragile and they tend to absorb everything, be it good or bad.
And as parents we need to find ways in terms of what type of media solving and how much of it should they be exposed to. This involves everything whether it is them playing games on the TV or watching educational videos on social media.
In the end, all that we would like to say is social media feeds and television — everything is filled with news about Russia and Ukraine and we need to talk to our children about the situation in order to help them understand and process the various emotions that they are going through.