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We watch the images of the battlefield brought to us with high definition graphic intensity, the sights and sounds of war shake the adult mind with repulsion and unbelief. The exposure to TV news reports of terrorism attacks and the war in Iraq can be difficult to handle as an adult, they are extremely difficult to filter as a child. My five year old recently asked a question posed by many of the multiple newscasters, “Daddy, are we winning the war?” This made me realize just how much he was paying attention while I flipped through the various cable news channels. I have seven children that range from infant to teenagers, each of them reacting in different ways to these events.
So how does a father help his kids deal with war and terrorism? Here a just a few suggestions and ideas to think about, maybe they will fuel ideas of your own.
· Limit the exposure to TV/Radio news depending on the age of the child, the younger the eyes, the more they should be protected.
· If they ask questions, answer them as honestly as possible, again give age appropriate answers. Use words that they can understand and take in. When discussing the events with preteens and teens, more detail can be appropriate.
· Remain calm, reigning in emotions and opinions before discussing the events
with your kids. They will feed off your state of mind and well being.
· Watch the responses of your kids, they will reveal a lot of how they are feeling through those actions. After September 11th, my four year old made tower after tower out of his legos, “for the ones that got knocked down” he would say. Watch closely and see how they are reacting to the news they hear.
· Also watch for physical symptoms of anxiety that children may demonstrate, nightmares, headaches, and excessive worry. These and other signs like them can alert us to the nervousness level they are feeling.
· Most of all, assure them that they are loved and they are safe. Remind them of the promises of God and how He protects His children. Reassuring your children that they are loved will comfort them in the midst of these difficult times. Pray often for and over them, hearing these prayers will ease doubts and fears.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, just a few starter points that I pray will help.
I encourage you to study your kids, they will “tell” you one way or another what they need from you. Be alert and diligent in guarding their minds, hearts and spirits, in doing so you will be guarding your own as well.
“We do not seek peace in order to be at war, but we go to war that we may have peace. Be peaceful, therefore, in warring, so that you may vanquish those whom you war against, and bring them to the prosperity of peace.”