It is hard to take in, much less comprehend, the horrifying events and images that have been taking place in Israel and Gaza. How do we process news of children, elderly people, families—those we take for granted as being “off-limits”—suffering atrocities beyond belief? Adults who have almost grown complacent about war and violence are shocked to the core. And for the millions of Americans with loved ones in the region, the desperation is overwhelming.
Now imagine what our children are feeling: They may have witnessed graphic depictions of war on television or social media, watched children like themselves flee from their homes or get caught in the crossfire—and they have no context for what they’re seeing and feeling. They, too, are likely experiencing the stresses of war. And they will turn to you (maybe they already have) with their questions and fears.
Remember that children are looking to you as a model, and are picking up on your behavior, thoughtsand feelings. So as the grown-up, take some time to assess your own emotions and level of stress prior to speaking with children.