In a world where information flows freely, children are exposed to confronting events that occur throughout the world through various mediums despite the controls we have in place for them.

With a stream of images, headlines, information and conversations, it is important to check in with your children, reassure them, and correct any inaccurate information they may have heard, or incorrect assumptions they may have made. We need to remember that young people view the world through their lens, not through ours. This means that some things that hold great significance for us, carry little for them, and vice versa some things that seem inconsequential to us can seem all-encompassing for them.

Due to this, it is essential to guide your children through these difficult conversations in a sensitive and educational way and ensure you are listening to their questions and thoughts and not making assumptions based on your personal feelings.

With valuable tips to help you navigate these discussions with your children, you can develop an open dialogue, where they feel comfortable communicating and seeking answers to confronting or challenging topics.

How to approach these difficult conversations:

1. Start with empathy & finding out what they know and how they feel.

Before diving into the conversation, understand that your child may have varying emotions and questions about the situation. Begin by asking your child what they know and how it makes them feel. Some children may know little about what is occurring, others may be worried and begin catastrophising. Acknowledging their feelings and letting them know that it's okay to be concerned, curious, or upset sets a compassionate tone for the discussion.

2. Age-Appropriate Honest Information

It is important to tailor your conversation to your child's age and maturity level. Honesty is about sharing what is appropriate for their cognitive framework, not what is appropriate for yours. Younger children need basic understandings of peace and conflict, while older children may require more authenticity and complexity in issues shared so that they begin to see how this is different to their own world. Be honest, but avoid overwhelming them with graphic details. As parents, you do still get to control many of the images that fill their heads and you help to keep what they know in perspective.

Remember too that you may not know all the answers to their questions. With older adolescents this could be used as an opportunity to do some research together, visiting reputable web sources like

3. Look at ways in which you can help

It is important for children to know that there are ways they can show kindness, finding organisations that are helping those in need is one great way to do that. There are a host of organisations that are standing up to help civilians affected by fighting seen in current world events, including the International Committee of the Red Cross, Save the Children and Oxfam Australia.

Being empowered to contribute to the solution through small acts can help avoid the feelings of helplessness we often feel when hearing of large scale conflict.

4. Continue to check-in and limit the flood of news

As the news of conflict continues, it is important to regularly check in with your child and see how they are feeling. Do they have any new questions? Or do they just need some time to talk through their emotions ?

It is also important to be mindful of what children are exposed to online, news on social platforms such as TikTok and Instagram can be quite graphic and should be monitored to ensure they are only viewing age-appropriate content. It is also important to be mindful of background noise from nightly news bulletins on TV or through overhearing adult conversation.

In times of crisis, it's crucial to foster an environment where children can ask questions, gain understanding, and feel safe. By approaching these challenging conversations with empathy, information, and a focus on peace, parents can help their children navigate the complexities of the world and grow into informed, compassionate individuals.

They are certainly looking to you to help them frame what they are hearing and feeling. The education you provide is the most powerful tool they have to build their own values and belief system in a positive way.

Levine, E.E., Roberts, A.R. and Cohen, T.R. (2020). Difficult conversations: navigating the tension between honesty and benevolence. Current Opinion in Psychology, 31, pp.38–43. doi: (n.d.). How to talk to your children about conflict and war | UNICEF Parenting. [online] Available at: [Accessed 24 Oct. 2023] (n.d.). Kids Health Information : Discussing distressing news events with children. [online] Available at: [Accessed 29 Oct. 2023].

Type on the line above then press the Enter/Return key to submit a new search query