With the ongoing war between Russia and the Ukraine, a lot of teens are becoming curious about what is happening in that part of the world. That curiosity can be rooted in a few different places, namely, but not limited to: confusion, intrigue, anger and fear.
Appropriately, we at Explorer Hop want to deviate a little from our typical finance content to give parents and teens our thoughts on the best ways to handle conversations about this conflict with the young and developing teen-aged minds in your home.
War is Nasty. Let's Acknowledge It.
Negative news and indiscriminate criminal activities and civilian deaths can impact anyone’s behaviour and add to all our stress - including those of teens. Watch your child’s behaviour around the house. If they come up to you with a question directly or start to seem disengaged and show signs of worry, answer the questions they have or address why they seem so down to see if they do have any questions, concerns or frustrations that they are too scared to bring up themselves. This applies to normal and typical topics of conversation too, but especially with a uniquely convoluted subject such as war, you want to make sure your teen is not suppressing angst or confusion so observation and attentiveness is especially key here.
Trying to dismiss the war as something far away that does not impact them, is really not a great idea given that it’s being played out on social networks for the world to see and the implications are being felt by all.
Put the War into Context. Seize the Moment to Build A Community Mindset.
We cannot shield our teens from the news, but we can put it into context for their world. Rather than having your child continuously watch live stream news coverage, take a different slant and see how you can make this into a moment of teaching.
- Brainstorm with your child on how you can help those who have to flee and even those brave enough to stay.
- Discuss how the war is impacting the global economy and what they would suggest doing to safeguard against it.
- Discuss how teens in Ukraine have their lives upended and how teens across the world can help them.
- Allow them to voice their opinions - they don’t have to agree with you on everything!
Help Them Find The Accurate Sources of Information.
Teens live online today and have information flowing through their phones. They see and hear more about the war than likely most adults. Just like we are aghast that they consider Tik-Tokers to be financial gurus, we also know that most of the information they get about the war comes from TikTok. Sorry, TikTok is not a legit source to get accurate information.
Yes, it would be easy to say block out the war news for them - but why?
The war in Ukraine will change the way the world operates for sure. Much like the way COVID changed the way our lives function. Hiding information in this super connected world is never a good idea, but helping them get accurate information is.
Keep discussion around legit sources of information like BBC, CNN and Global TV and get everyone in the household into a habit of fact checking info.
Acknowledge Their Anxiety About The Situation.
As a teenager, your child is already having a hard enough time handling their day-to-day life. No matter if that involves school, home life, relationships or friendships, there is enough on your teen’s plate already and, therefore, all these details about the conflict can lead to more angst and uncertainty for your child. You cannot control their social media feed but you can have some control over their reaction to it. This is not the time to pick a fight for every little thing, it’s the time for parents to really take a step back and understand that most teens have been at war with COVID for the past two years, and now they find themselves being consumed by this other war. They see risks in the future for themselves and this is frightening to them as well.
So, in the end, take a few moments to walk outside and get some fresh air. Show your teen that life can be unpredictable and it is a balancing act. It’s ok to be sad and upset. With that said, however, we must acknowledge these anxieties while also staying cognizant of the positive things in life. Like we said, life is a balancing act between good and bad, hard times and awesome ones, and understanding this is an important key to staying level-headed and even-keeled through the ups and downs of the everyday lives we live – both in the present and the future.