Unfortunately, Russia invaded Ukraine. This military attack occupies hours of television, information in the press, appears in our worried faces, in angry conversations, in teachers’ dialogues, or in the various attempts to help or collaborate…
The way to resolve the violent and deadly conflicts in which some human beings react is made visible in our daily life and therefore in the daily life of children. In short, it surrounds the world of our childrenit is therefore necessary to think about how to act and support the possible impact that this may have on them.
How to explain the war in Ukraine to children?
In fact, the principle par excellence among all parents is to take care of our children as best as possible, there is no room for doubt; this should honor us and it is very important to keep this in mind. But because of that for generations, emotional education has been non-existent Since psychology itself is a very new discipline and has progressed from its mistakes, it is very easy for us to have confused ideas or even think of emotional guidelines that will not be healthy.
Therefore, we will see some tips for understanding the world of the child and for know how to accompany and support them in this situation in an adaptive way that generates resilience from a secure attachment.
1. Explain what happens to language appropriate for your stage of evolution
In this work of parents, it is extremely important to know that the child’s brain is shaped in interaction with its environment, so it is phylogenetically prepared to absorb the reality that surrounds it. Children hear, see and feel everything around them. And above all, they will always give you meaning, always.
If we do not accompany them in the construction of this meaning, they will understand what is happening from their non-conforming infant brain, that is to say very superstitious and catastrophic explanations will be given about what is happening around you. These self-explanations will generate feelings of genuine fear or panic.
Faced with these feelings, they will be frightened and will be able to hide them and not express them to the adult world so as not to be a burden, not to disturb or to anticipate possible rejection, among other things. That is to say, they will give it their own meaning and live it alone. If so, it is likely that over time, symptoms such as stomach pain, fear of going to school, or regressions to earlier developmental stages may occur.
How will parents understand this? The answer is that it will be difficult to associate it with the impact of a pandemic or a war. We will think that the child has not even discovered it, and it will be extremely difficult for us to attribute a cause to the pain in the intestine. Accompanying our children in the construction of the meaning of reality is therefore essential, even more, when this reality is a reality that is difficult to assimilate.
Not telling them doesn’t mean they won’t know; on the contrary, it assumes that they will give it their own childish meaning and feel the unpleasant emotions that lead to loneliness. If it has had a strong impact and is repeated over time, secondary symptoms will most likely begin sooner or later.
We therefore help them to make sense and we do so in a language adapted to their age by preparing a simple story beforehand. and from the child’s point of view. We always look them in the eye, we explain to them, calling things by their name, adapting it to their age, without detours and without giving too many turns because giving too many turns blurs the message and increases the possible state of alert in the boy or the girl. For example, depending on your age, we can tell you that something very sad and ugly happened called war where some adults hurt others to get what they want.
2. Don’t lie to her
The brain is always listening to everything we say. Our language is a direct message to the child’s brain that internalizes a way of seeing ourselves, seeing the world and seeing ourselves. If we lie to the child, his brain will conclude that we are not trustworthy., who cannot count on us. In the same way as in the adult world, if we discover that someone around us is lying, we begin to feel insecure about this person, the child will feel the same.
The child is exposed to the environment, and sooner or later he will find out what is going on and he will know that we lied to him. Attachment is not love, it is not affection, attachment is security. Above all, the child needs to feel that we are his security, that he can trust us, that we are a sure anchor to which he can be attached without hesitation, without suspicion, in absolute confidence. Always tell him the truth according to his age, never tell him something that is not true.
3. Explain calmly and make room for your reaction
It is important that we trust the intuition of our parents, that we understand our child better than anyone. And from there, be calm and listen to the child more than to ourselves, because our gaze will be as he sees. The child’s brain does not really listen to our words but instinctively observes our body, smells our skin, smells our breath, finally perceives from its brain structure if it is in danger or not.
First, calm down and trust yourself so that your message reaches him with the prosody of the voice that rocks and undulates.
It is said that children are not born with an instruction manual, but in reality they are the instruction manual. Listen to their reactions, give them space and open your eyes to their body language, their emotions, their words. remember that if we are focused on our fear of doing good, the child will be afraid and he will not know what to attribute it to.
Watch it, you will find that somehow it shows you what it needs. Observe your needs and ask if you have any questions or anything else you would like to know. We speak slowly and always monitoring your reaction and accompaniment.
4. Tell him about the frequency, where it happened and let him know that he and you are safe.
It is important to note where the war takes place. You can use a map or, depending on your age, tell him it’s far, far away.
Also note the frequency, explaining that although something like this can happen, however, it is very rare, very rare, for it to happen, and that although some people actually act this way, most people, many, many people resolve conflicts. dialogue and benevolence and understanding of others.
Remember to insist and make sure he understands that he and you you are safe.
5. Filter the news you are exposed to
We must remember and keep in mind that from our adult world it is very easy to forget that by our side childhood, eager for knowledge, constantly smells, hears and looks at the world from an extremely fragile and vulnerable brain who has no filter to be able to understand.
Thus, in the education of the child, we give him meaning, we filter the information to which he is exposed, we answer his questions and we no longer offer information that could generate overexposure.
6. Help him collaborate
Finally, make sure they can understand that there are many, many more people, most of them, trying to dialogue and resolve this situation through dialogue and peace. That there are many, many people helping to get along and helping the injured. Increases your sense of control by allowing her to collaborate as well, from letters, messages, sending clothes, medicine.
Hug him in your arms and explain to him that the greatest and most powerful thing is always love, that you can send this love in a thousand ways in the form of drawings with heartfelt messages to Russian hearts and Ukrainians and that this will give them strength and power, because all hearts speak the same language and love always wins.