Speaking to children about conflict and war

Mother kneeling to talk to pre-teen daughter about a serious subject

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has horrified the world and dominated headlines, with many people worldwide anxious about the conflict. 

Children and young people are no exception – with uncertainty even greater among those from Armed Forces families concerned that a loved one will be called to serve. Britain’s Armed Forces are already on high alert, with some mobilised to areas across Europe. 

Conflict anywhere has a huge impact on Armed Forces families. But how do you talk to frightened and curious children and young people about such events? 

A number of useful guides are available for parents and educators, which are available on our dedicated Resources page

These resources include advice from the Save the Children charity, with tips from a psychologist and child counsellor.

Carolyn MacLeod, Scotland’s National Transitions Officer who runs Forces Children’s Education, said: “Children and young people of Armed Forces families may be looking at the events in Ukraine from a perspective that is different to children of non-military families.  

“They are aware that when issues of defence and security arise, their parent (or someone known to them) may well become involved. Issues of conflict and war become closer and impact family and home. There is much that is unknown and the uncertainty can be stressful for many.

“Regardless of how many times a serving parent has been away on training or deployment, the separation from a close loved one does not get easier, especially when the situation has constant media coverage.

“The FCE site has a range of resources, links to information and suggestions that you might find helpful in supporting children.”

More for

We have lots of useful guides for families of school-age young people in our Families section.

More for Educators

Our Educators section is filled with valuable information for teachers of Forces children across Scotland.