We have been deeply saddened and horrified to watch the continued conflicts across the world that are causing suffering and death to countless children, youth, adults, and families.
Recent news has been flooded with stories and images from war and genocide, which are having profound and tragic impacts on children and families living in the region and on families worldwide. The impacts of war are far-reaching, including the death and suffering of families as well as fear and re-traumatization of families around the world with connections to affected regions and those who have experienced war, and heightened concern of a rise in antisemitism and Islamophobia.
While we continue to learn about and understand the importance of history, spiritual and religious connection, and place/displacement that underlie current events, we believe that no child or family should be a target of war. As hard as it can be to pay attention to events across the world when there is so much to care for in our local communities, we recognize that when children anywhere in the world suffer, the whole world suffers.
As parenting education professionals, we understand that the impacts of war, genocide, violence, and forcible displacement will impact children and families now and for generations.
When the weight of the world feels too great to take on, we can feel helpless and look away to preserve our own well-being. Your health and well-being matter and we encourage you to take care of yourself however you most need. At the same time, we need to collectively find ways to look for and be the helpers in spaces where we have power and influence, where we have a voice, and where we can impact change.
We encourage you to lean in to offering support and bolstering protective factors for all families, including those in your communities and beyond, including:
- continuing the important parenting education and family support work you are already doing;
- becoming educated on current and historical events;
- accessing networks to call for a ceasefire in parts of the world where ongoing suffering is occurring and sharing the critical need to ensure access to safe drinking water, food, electricity, and medical and humanitarian aid for the safety and well-being of families; and
- leaning into trauma-informed care by taking care of ourselves while also not ignoring news that is deeply impacting the world so that we are prepared to discuss what is on families’ minds.
We are all impacted by identity-based violence and disinformation campaigns that seek to justify violence against entire groups of people. Even though we may be geographically far away, the children and families we are currently working with are also carrying traumas and the weight of the world on their shoulders. We hope that the following resources may help you and the families you serve navigate conversations in age-appropriate ways.
Resources on Current Events
- What’s the Israel-Palestine Conflict About? A Guide
- Israel Gaza war: History of the conflict explained
- Sudan: Why has fighting broke out there?
- Sudan in Crisis: Current events in historical perspective (2019)
Resources for Families and Children
- Books for Children about Palestine
- 35 Childrens’ Books by African Writers
- Children’s Picture Books: Stories about Characters of Sudanese Ethnicity
- Children’s books about Ukraine and being a refugee
- Discussing War and Conflict: Resources for Educators, Parents and Caregivers from Learning for Justice
- How to Talk with Kids About Violence, Crime, and War by Common Sense Media
- Talking to Children about War from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (available in multiple languages)
- Five Tips for Talking to Kids About What’s Going On in the World from Shauna Tominey/Greater Good Berkeley
- How to Talk to your Child about Traumatic World Events from KQED
- Nine tips for talking to kids about trauma (Greater Good, Berkeley)
- 15 tips for talking with children about violence (Colorín Colorado; Multilingual tips provided)
- How to protect your mental health while fighting racial injustice
- Helping Children Cope after a Traumatic Event (by developmental stage) by Child Mind Institute (English and Spanish)
- Teaching Mindful Media Consumption webinar recording from Learning for Justice
We recognize that sharing a resource can feel like such a small offering when what we want is to ensure the safety of every child and family across the world. We hope that this small act is only a start – a start to showing care, to encouraging conversations, to building compassion and understanding, and to supporting healing at home, in your community, and around the world. We want you to know that we stand with you and most importantly, we collectively stand for the well-being of children and families today and every day.
With gratitude and care for you and all that you do,
Shauna, Trisha, Linse, Jey, and Linda
members of the Oregon Parenting Education Collaborative team
The views and opinions expressed on the Oregon Parenting Education Collaborative Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Oregon State University, the State of Oregon and its agencies, or the foundation partners.