JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A devastating humanitarian crisis is unfolding in Ukraine.
It’s hard to watch and even harder to speak about, especially with children.
When it’s time to have that talk, Licensed Clinical Social Worker Lori Osachey said delivery is key.
“Children of different ages need different approaches. You don’t want to give them too much information that will overwhelm though. It’s important to try to listen to them,” said Osachey, owner of Body Image Counseling Center.
Russia-Ukraine crisis: Protecting your mental health as we watch an invasion unfold
For parents with kids 10 and younger, Osachey advises asking how much they know and validating their emotions. With pre-teens and teenagers, she suggests being honest and not sugarcoating what’s happening.
“You could start with a general statement. ‘There’s been a lot going on, on TV about people fighting in other countries and I just want to know have you heard about it, and do you have any questions about it?’” said Osachey.
Osachey also recommends for parents to limit their child’s social media and television exposure as well.
“It’s just a very unique time in history where you can watch a war unfold in front of you 24/7 and it can be very traumatizing,” said Osachey.
Exposure to disasters can trigger post-traumatic stress symptoms in kids even if it’s through social media or television coverage, according to a study from Florida International University.
For more helpful resources on how to spot or treat PTSD in children visit https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/ptsd.html.