- Helping Kids Deal with World Issues: Ukraine, Floods, Sport Heroes Passing, COVID Pandemic
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Helping Kids Deal with World Issues: Ukraine, Floods, Sport Heroes Passing, COVID Pandemic
When we hear of troubling news, such as the situation in Ukraine, the destructive floods in Queensland and New South Wales, sports heroes passing away unexpectedly and of course the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is almost impossible to avoid being affected.
When children and adolescents come across bad world news, they may feel:
- anxious and worried
- sad and depressed
Knowing how to speak to your children about these issues can also be challenging. To assist you in helping your kids manage the current affairs in a healthy way, we have provided you with some tips from ReachOut Australia and Professor Lea Waters from the University of Melbourne.
Open the Conversation
If you sense that something may be amiss, try asking your child about school, friends and hobbies. Offer to listen if they have something on their mind.
Acknowledge Their Feelings
Whatever is going on for your child, they need reassurance that it's okay to feel the way they do.
Take an Instructive Approach to the News
Research shows that instruction can be better than restriction when it comes to media and social media.
What does the instructive approach look like? For young children, it looks like vetting the media channels and co-viewing media sites together so you can explain what they are seeing in ways they will understand. For teens who typically have wide access, it looks like asking them what they are seeing and helping them be wise about the reliability of the information and how the knowledge makes them feel.
Discuss World News Together
Talking about events can help children to process what's happening. By discussing world events with older children, you will be courting them to increase their knowledge of topical issues, and to think critically about what's going on in the world.
Scour the media (big news and social media) for positive stories about the events. Show your children the outpouring of help and aid that is being sent to people in Queensland and New South Wales during the floods. Speak to your teens about the broader geo-political reaction to Putin, the role of NATO and other countries stepping in to provide military and humanitarian support for Ukraine. Speak to them also about the Russian citizens who are protesting. Discuss how this might represent a global shift in the world. Find examples of where humanity shines in times of darkness and struggle.
What Can Your Child Do to Help with World Problems?
There are usually things, big and small, that a person can do to help a situation. Despite this, one person on their own can rarely stop things from happening. Learning to understand how much influence they have over something is an important step in reducing the stress your child might feel when hearing bad news.
This isn't to say that they shouldn't try helping; in fact, taking positive steps to help people and the community around them will improve their wellbeing and is often an effective way to reduce anxiety. Ask your children if there is an action they would like to take to help. Maybe it is donating money to the flood appeals, or maybe it is widening this idea to being kind to an elderly neighbour.
There is much adversity occurring in our world right now; it can be a sad and scary time for our kids and ourselves. We may not be able to control the things that happen in the world, but we can equip our children with strategies to help them better process and cope with trauma.
We are grateful that in the midst of this adversity, we can turn to God, who provides us with peace and hope. John 16:33 says, 'I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth, you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.'
At St Philip's Christian College Cessnock, our Wellbeing Team is aware of this difficult time and are available to assist your child if they need extra support. Feel free to email your child's Pastoral Care Teacher or Belinda Shields, our K-12 Director of Wellbeing at Belinda.firstname.lastname@example.org
Head of Wellbeing
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