Maudlin and Associates ™
Karen Maudlin
Psy.D., CPCC
Kenneth Davison
Cindy Takiguchi
Manette Galván Turner
Robert Gregory
Daniel Doebler
Trevor Simpson

Our children need more of our help these days to calm their fears about terrorism and about the war. Here are ways to help your kids find a sense of peace:

Regulate the information. Limit the amount of media coverage your children see or hear. I suggest that children eight and under have a maximum of ten minutes of supervised exposure to war coverage. (Children four and under really don't need any exposure to the war unless they begin to ask you questions about what's happening.) Keep in mind that images of war on television, in magazines, or on the Internet are much more intense than newspaper or radio reports. Preteens and teens need to process what they are picking up in school and in the media. Make sure you are available for conversations about political, spiritual, and social issues. Encourage your child's youth leader to offer times for the teens to have open, honest conversations about the war.

Provide perspective. If your children seem especially anxious about the war, check your own attitude to make sure you're not passing your stress on to them. Try not to let the war take over your family conversations and don't stir up unnecessary worry. Unless their safety becomes an issue, make sure your children stay involved in their regular activities-sports, hanging out with friends, relaxing family time. Demonstrate your confidence in God's sovereignty by keeping life as normal as possible.

Pray. Praying for the people impacted by the war is wonderful way to show your children that our faith really does make a difference in the way we deal with times of crisis.

  • Pray for our national leaders, our soldiers, and all the military families. (Read 1 Timothy 2:1-2).

  • Pray for peace to come quickly.

  • Pray for protection from terrorism at home.

  • Pray for the Iraqi families: for protection, comfort, food, and shelter.

  • Pray that the hearts of the Iraqi leaders might turn to the God of peace.

  • Pray for God to show your family how to be people of peace. (Matthew 9:50, 1 Peter 3:8-12)

  • You can also use Scripture as a guide for your prayers. Have a parent read one of the following passages about God's peace and comfort: Psalm 27:1-2; Psalm 46:1-3; Psalm 121:7; Romans 8:35-39; or another family favorite. Meditate of the passage in silence for a minute or so, then say the passage together as a family. End with a prayer.

Answer only the questions they ask. It's tempting to go into great detail about what's happening in this war. But children can be easily overwhelmed and frightened by too much information. Follow your child's lead when she wonders why that man on TV is holding a gun or why her friend Molly's dad had to go to the war. Answer her question as simply as you can. If she wants more information, she'll let you know.

Mobilize Operation Attitudes of Gratitude. In times of worry, it's helpful to keep in mind all the blessings in your lives. You can reassure your children of God's goodness by focusing on the ways he cares for your family. Say thank you to God for at least five blessings each night. Thank him for all the ways he provided for you and kept you safe that day. Be extra kind to others. The general anxiety in our country is high. Encourage your children to promote God's peace by modeling his love and care to others.

Cherish the comfort. Make time for extra cuddles, hugs, and time together. Just the physical presence of family can be quite reassuring to children. Plan fun family activities to give all of you a break from your worry.

Adopt a military family. If you know someone who is stationed in the Persian Gulf, pray for that soldier and his or her family. Even if you don't know someone personally, the chances are good that someone in your neighborhood or church has a personal connection to the military. Ask the family if they'd be willing to give you periodic updates on how their soldier is doing so you can pray for specific needs. Offer practical help for any single parent families created by the war. Cook a meal once a week, invite the kids to your house for an afternoon play date, and pray for wisdom to find other ways you can help.