In these difficult times, we wish to convey a few thoughts regarding our children and the current security situation:
Children are part of us. They live and feel what we are all going through, even if they do not talk about it or express it.
It’s important to remember:
Children have natural immunity and resilience.
Children are very connected to and influenced by the their parents’ emotions. One of the most important components of their strength is their parents—us. It’s important for us to watch over ourselves and our health, for ourselves and for them.
It’s important to be careful about the words we use in the presence of children. We have to remember that children hear everything and have difficulty filtering and understanding information, and that they process it differently than adults do, in a disproportionate manner. It’s important to give children up-to-date, true information based on their age and maturity. We want the children to hear it from us, and in the way we know it is suited for them, and not be fed rumors or half-truths.
It’s very important to pay attention to, and supervise, children’s exposure to information.
It’s important to encourage conversation and to maintain constant communication with them. Children draw strength and support from dialogue; we can hear them out and pay attention to what they are feeling and to their needs.
It is important to maintain regular routines; children need routine. School at this time is a source of strength and it’s important to make sure they attend regularly.
Fear is liable to generate paralysis or disconnection. It’s a good idea to give children chores and errands to keep them active and moving, and to make them feel needed and important. (Examples: washing dishes, preparing food, watching younger siblings, playing an instrument, drawing.)
You should radiate a sense of security and protection to your children. For now, it’s better to be close to the children physically, to be at home more, and to speak to them about bitachon in Hashem, Who is constantly guarding over us. You can also share with them (depending on maturity) the actions being taken by the defense forces. Likewise, it’s important to review safety rules and what will give them a sense of security and protection.
Remember that in the near future, many normal behaviors indicating unease or disquiet may appear. These are reactions to the constant state of alert on the one hand and disconnection on the other. These reactions can be physical, behavioral, emotional, or thoughts. It’s important for us to know that all these reactions are legitimate, normal and expected for now. They indicate that the children are healthy and reacting to complex events, and vary from child to child. Parents may wish to call the school office to request more help for children who are afraid or distressed.
With tefillos for good news and peace for Am Yisrael,
– The Hanhalah