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Local child psychiatrist gives tips to parents on how to talk to kids about war


EL PASO, Texas –  About one week since Russia launched a large-scale invasion on Ukraine, more than 2,000 civilians in Ukraine have been killed, according to Ukraine's emergency service.

This leaves parents across the world questioning how to explain to their kids what's going on.

ABC-7 spoke with Dr. Sarah Martin, Child psychiatrist at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso, who said that as tough as these conversations may be, they are still necessary discussions to have with your kids.

“This isn’t the first time you’ll have to have hard conversations with your child and it certainly won’t be the last time, said Dr. Martin. “ do want them to know that not everyone in the world is good, good things do not always happen, bad things do sometimes happen to good people.”

Dr. Martin said there is no right time to approach a situation like this but some tips to keep in mind when talking with kids is:

  • Make sure to be calm
  • Keep their age and development level in mind 
  • Do not force it on them

She said it’s times like this that can make the family bond even stronger. 

“Take advantage of those times, of those types of opportunities to get closer. The more open your communication, the better you will be able to know what's going on with your child,” said Martin. 

Martin said that if you are hesitant about how to bring up the discussion with your kids, you can wait until they ask questions and go from there. 

“But really helping them understand what's going on if they are ready to hear it is very important for their overall safety,” said Martin.

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Brianna Perez


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