Tips for parents during war and conflict (with Russian translation)

Published date27 February 2022
Publication titleIsrael National News (Israel)
This article is being written particularly now, in a show of solidarity with the people of Ukraine, who are currently facing adversity in the face of evil and doing their best to defend their homeland and sovereignty

The people of Israel stand behind our Jewish and non-Jewish Ukrainian friends alike. We are thinking about you constantly and you are not alone.

Without further delay, here are 20 useful tips, translated into in Russian and printe after the English for your convenience.

Note: The Russian version of this article can be found right after the English one.

1. LEADERSHIP-When chaos strikes, leadership is especially important. As the parent or caregiver of a group of people, those people under your care look to you for guidance. Step into this role as best as you can, appreciating that with good leadership you can significantly affect how the people under your care will experience these difficult times.

2 RESILIENCY-Having a resilient attitude to adversity and danger can help carry people extremely far in the hardest of times, and even help people survive. Try to practice & maintain a resilient psychological mindset to accompany you right now. This is like inviting a trusted wise friend to accompany you on this journey, until you eventually find peace. Whenever you need to, pause and "consult" with the resilient part of yourself, asking yourself how to best relate to the difficulty you are being challenged with, in a way that you make a hard situation a little more manageable and possible to overcome.

3 TELL KIDS-children can be told that their parents or caregivers are going to do what they can to help them be safe. Similarly, they can be told that the government and military are doing a lot of hard work to ensure the child and nation's safety, and that they do this work even while the child plays, goes to sleep, or stops to monitor the war.

4 LISTEN AND LET THEM APPROACH YOU-Let family members know that people can feel stress during times like this and that they can approach you at any time to share this. If somebody shares with us their feelings, it is important to validate their feelings and not simply jump to advice-giving or "fixing their feelings". Sometimes the biggest thing or only thing you can do for somebody is just listen to them share, and that alone is a special thing to provide somebody-a nonjudgmental place to share feelings.

5 WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT-People, even within one family, can have strong divergent opinions about current events. As we try to go through these difficult times as a family or group, it is helpful and important to be united, despite our different views. Allow room for people to think or react differently.

6 PARENTS COPING-Children monitor how parents look and act, in order to see how they should behave. Parents can work on their own calm and coping skills, which in turn can have a calming effect on the family.

7 CREATING SENSE OF SAFETY-Wars are violent and unpredictable. We are naturally worried for our wellbeing during war.

Try and see how you can create a sense of safety for yourself, and with your family.

What small things can you do, say, or think that helps usher in a minor sense of safety, hope, or calm?

Ask each of your family members to come up with some ways to create this sense of safety. What is helpful to you may not be helpful to a five-year-old or even to other adults. At the same time, children and even adults could sometimes appreciate some assistance in brainstorming together to find those things that create that tiny feeling of safety. Let people come up with ideas on their own but let them also know they can chat with you to brainstorm about this together if they would like.

8 SPEAK ON THEIR LEVEL-Conversations with children or teens about war needs to be done in a developmentally appropriate manner and tailored as necessary for that child, in a way that each child gets messages of parents or caregivers being present to help them in a way they understand

9 WHERE IS THE DANGER-Despite war occurring within a country's borders, war can take place far away from a child's home. Still, children tend to think the war is in their own neighborhood and often need help understanding what the war means for them and the level of danger they are in. While war is always unnerving, combat several hours away by car is not the same as combat within one's own neighborhood.

10 ADOLESCENTS-Adolescents are more independent than young children, speak a lot with their peers, and may walk around outside as they choose to. They will receive a lot of their information about current events from people their age. Parents can provide opportunities to...

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