In a world filled with complex and often distressing events, children can’t help but absorb the information around them. As parents and guardians, it’s our responsibility to guide them through these challenging topics, helping them understand, process, and find hope even in the midst of uncertainty. Brett Ryan from Focus on the Family joined Kirste and Dan on air this morning to offer valuable insights on how to approach these difficult conversations with children.

Why we need to talk about the news

One of the key issues that Brett emphasised was the importance of addressing current events with our children, conflicts such as the Ukraine war and the Middle East crisis. We all know that children are keen observers and, inevitably, they pick up on how the adults around them are dealing with such issues.

Creating a safe space: Brett stressed the need to keep the lines of communication open. We’ve got to make sure our kids feel comfortable chatting with us about what they see and how it makes them feel. Asking them about their thoughts and emotions is key.

Being mindful of our reactions: Another crucial point Brett made was the need for adults to be mindful of their own reactions and emotions when discussing challenging subjects with children. Little ones are like sponges – they soak up our emotions. So, maintaining a calm and reassuring demeanour is essential.

Turning news into lessons in kindness

One of the most valuable takeaways from this conversation was the idea of using global events as opportunities to teach children about compassion, kindness, and thoughtfulness. We can ask “How do we treat our friends?”…”How do we treat people on the playground?” By asking children to consider how they can apply these principles to their own lives, we can turn challenging circumstances into valuable lessons.

The necessity of discussing tragedy and trauma: Brett also reminded us that it’s not only global conflicts that children might need guidance on. Tragedies and trauma like divorce, separation, illness, or death can be just as challenging to talk about. Focus on the Family Australia offers resources, including books and articles, to help parents address these challenging topics with their children.

In an ever-changing world, these conversations are vital to building resilient, empathetic, and compassionate young minds. For further guidance, resources, and articles on addressing difficult topics with your children, you can visit the Focus on the Family Australia website.