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Talk to Your Children About War and Terrorists

  • Whitney Hopler Live It Editor
  • 2002 6 Jun
  • COMMENTS
Talk to Your Children About War and Terrorists
Our current war against terrorism is disturbing for adults, but particularly frightening for children, who need a strong sense of security to thrive. As a parent, you can help your children deal with their fears about war and terrorists and discover the security that comes from God.

Here are some ways you can talk to your children about war and terrorists:

  • Encourage your children to openly and honestly express their thoughts and feelings to you, and ask any questions they might have. Be proactive about staring discussions with them on topics such as war, safety, security, enemies, peace, patriotism, politics, the military and the Middle East. Listen well, and take what they say seriously.

  • Pray together, and read the Bible together to help your children discover what God thinks about various topics you're discussing. Assure your children that God cares very much about what's going on.

  • Allow your children to read, see, and hear news reports of events in the war against terrorism, then discuss the reports together. But be careful not to allow younger children to see disturbing images of graphic violence.

  • Frequently tell your children how much you love them, and show them by spending time with them on a regular basis and giving them plenty of hugs.

  • Maintain as normal a routine as possible in their lives to give them a sense of consistency.

  • Allow your children to process their feelings through supervised fantasy play. Help them reenact their fears and work to resolve them through games. For example, they can pretend that a terrorist is trying to hurt them, but some soldiers fight the terrorists to protect the children.

  • Help your children feel significant. Encourage them to call the White House comment line (202-456-1111) or write to their representatives in Congress and state and local government to voice their opinions on the war.

  • Encourage your children to do something to help soldiers and officers in the military. Help them send letters and drawings expressing their thanks to members of the military serving both at home and abroad. Send care packages to soldiers and officers serving overseas.

  • Gather your family and friends together to participate in creative activities that can start thoughtful discussions about war and terrorists. Eat a dinner made up of foods from the warring countries, for example, or host a pretend news conference on the war.

Adapted from 130 Questions Children Ask About War and Terrorists, copyright 1991, 2002 by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop. Published by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Ill., www.tyndale.com, 1-800-323-9400.

Stephen Arterburn, M.Ed., cofounder and chairman of New Life Treatment Centers and founder of the Women of Faith movement, is the author of more than 30 books. In addition to his work in psychiatric health care, he holds a degree in elementary education and is a licensed minister. He lives with his wife and daughter in Laguna Beach, Ca. David Stoop, Ph.D., founder and codirector of The Center for Family Therapy, has written several books and is an ordained minister. He and his wife lead marriage and family seminars across the country and abroad. They have three grown children and several grandchildren.

How have you talked to your children about war and terrorists lately? How have your discussions helped your children? Visit Crosswalk's forums to discuss this topic by clicking on the link below.