By Colin Allen, published on March 21, 2003 - last reviewed on June 9, 2016
Many parents have had to explain the war in Iraq to their children. Violent images of warfare and an increased risk of terrorism could be damaging to a child. James Garbarino, Ph.D. a child development expert at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, notes that children may have already learned from previous traumatic experiences, such as the Columbine shootings, the Oklahoma bombing or the Gulf War.
"While America is at war, parents, teachers and other adults face the challenge of talking and listening to children about the difficult topics of violence, revenge, safety, danger, injury and death," says Garbarino. He offers four general guidelines for parents to follow when their kids start asking difficult questions about war.
Parents face a difficult challenge in explaining war to their children. For many kids, this will be the first time they will ask themselves about war and why it is happening. Strong support from parents will help many kids feel safer than they would otherwise.