Helping Parents Respond and Cope with their Children’s
Thoughts Regarding the Current War in Israel:
Select Resources and References
Dr. Chaim Botwinick, Ed.D
As the war between Israel and Hamas rages on, a growing number of Jewish families with young children are struggling with a variety of challenges. Several of these challenges include ways in which parents can help their children cope with these events, how parents restrict and/or modulate exposure of their children regarding the war and its impact, the impact of family/parent conversations in the presence of their children; and helping their children process what they are hearing either at home, at school or in the playground regarding the horrendous events leading up to the war in Gaza and the war itself.
There are many (self-included) who feel that the less exposure our young children have to the horrific events now unfolding in Israel, the better. Unfortunately, in today’s environment, it is extremely difficult to protect our children from all of the news coming out of Israel, local communal responses to the crisis, telephone calls to and from relatives living in Israel and conversations between parents and family members. Nevertheless, the rule of thumb, as it relates to the exposure of young children to this crisis should be the less we talk about the details of the war in our homes in the presence of young children, the better.
In light of the proliferation of articles, papers, research and opinion pieces on this critically important topic, I have chosen to focus this month’s article on “resources and references” as opposed to outcomes, solutions or suggestions as they relate to coping and/or responding to this growing crisis of historic proportion.
At the end of the day, it is imperative that we do everything in our sphere of influence to reduce or eliminate the potential impact of the war in Israel on our children. This includes news from the front, the recent Hamas attacks and atrocities leading up to the current conflict, let alone the growing level of anti-Semitism spirally out of control around the world.
The objective for presenting these References and Source material is to help our parents respond to the needs of our children during this critical period of time. We must ensure that during this unprecedented period of time, our children feel personally and physically safe and secure – a challenge of paramount importance.
The following are select References and Source Material which can be invaluable to parents of young children. These materials may also be of tremendous value to teachers and educators, in search for references and relevant source material relating to this topic.
It is important to note that what follows is in addition to the outstanding articles on this topic currently posted on the GenAleph website.
References, Social Media Posts and Select Source Material
- Resilience in a Time of War: Tips for Parents and Teachers of Middle School Children, American Psychological Association 2012
- A Parent’s Guide to Explain the War, Psychology Today, March 21, 2003
- How Parents can Help their Kids Navigate the War – Opinion , Jerusalem Post, October 14, 2023
- How to Talk to Children about War – An Age-by-Age Guide, Today.com, January 8, 2020
- Israeli Psychologists Offer Tips to Help Parents, CBS News, October , 2023
- How to Talk to Kids about the Israel- Hamas War, Boston University (BU Today), October 24, 2023
- Four Ways to Help Students Cope During Crises Like the Israel-Gaza War, National Association of Elementary School Principals, October, 2023
- Managing the Trauma of the War in Israel for Individuals and Families, AISH, October 10, 2023
- How to Explain the Israel-Hamas War to Your Children , Parents.com, October 25, 2023
- Six Tips for Supporting Jewish Students in the Classroom, Anti-Defamation League, October 7 , 2023
- Baltimore County Helping Parents Talk to Kids about War, WBAL, and October 13, 2023.
- The Jewish Education Project: Resource Guides and Materials, 2023
- How to Talk to Children About Anti-Semitism, PJ Library, February 14, 2022
- The Lookstein Education Resource Center, Bar Ilan University , 2023
- The Jewish Education Center of Cleveland, 2023
- How to Talk to Kids About What’s Happening in Israel Right Now, Sivan Zakai, the KVELLAR, October 9, 2023
The daunting impact and tragedy of war and its effect on society, communities, families and individuals is probably one of the most frightening and heart-wrenching man-created destructive activities imaginable. …especially in the minds of our children.
Why war happens and how they end is entirely the will of HaShem. At best, we as parents and educators must do everything in our power and control to protect our precious children from the destructive nature of these events….including the stories of increased untold loses of human life on the battlefield.
Throughout Jewish history, the Bnai Yisrael have witnessed and experienced many tragic wars against its enemies. Many have resulted in victories, others have not.
As war rages on, and as we try as hard as we can to protect our children from the psychological and emotional impact of these traumatic events, we hope and pray to Hashem, that the war will end soon, the hostages will be released; and that we will uproot the evil that threatens Israel’s existence and Jewry.
May HaShem watch over acheinu beis yisrael; and may we continue to me mispallel for the safety and welfare our soldiers and their families;
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