Talking to kids about war

The headlines about Russia invading Ukraine caught the world’s attention: 

Not that little children read these media stories, but news of this war is something that will catch your child’s attention (no matter what their age) and raise questions. On Thursday, the Seniors in my history class asked me if they would be drafted to fight in Ukraine. This question was a reminder of the personal ways our students will interpret this world event. Newsfeeds will soon be full of images of the invasion. We will get accounts from those suffering. It is important to process how different news outlets cover this conflict. I encourage you to take this opportunity to help a young mind look at different perspectives to determine the truth about a major world event.

We cannotnor should weinsulate our children from understanding what war is about. We canand shouldtalk to them about it in age-appropriate ways. Here are two good sources for parents to use, should your child have questions about what is happening in Europe and Ukraine. 

It is important to remind younger children that this war is very far away from the United States and, at the moment, far from our own servicemen and women. With older children, it is an opportunity to educate them about geopolitics and history. It is a chance for them to understand that this conflict will have far-reaching effects in terms of our economy. This conflict has the potential to reshape Europe, and even has implications for Taiwan, depending on how China perceives the response of the West.

My heart goes out to the parents in Ukraine having to talk to their children right now about the terror they are experiencing. I saw an interview Thursday morning after the invasion with a Ukrainian mom trying to model courage and resilience for her children. Before the invasion, Ukrainian parents were putting stickers with their child’s blood type on their clothing. I can’t imagine the fear those families are facing. War is terrible, and, watching the events unfold in Ukraine, I couldn’t help but think of how important it is to never miss a moment to give our kids one more hug and tell them we love them. We may not be able to protect them from the brutality that this world sometimes brings, but we certainly can be as supportive as possible as they process it.