How to talk to kids and teens about the Israel-Hamas war


Published October 10, 2023 at 1:55 pm

Anthony Urciuoli/ photo
Smoke rises from an explosion caused by Israeli airstrikes on the border between Egypt and Rafah, Gaza Strip on Tuesday (Oct. 10). HATEM ALI/THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP PHOTO

Mental health experts and school boards are offering support for kids and youth in Canada worried about the escalating Israel-Hamas war, as well as tips for parents on how to talk about it.

The Toronto District School Board has sent a statement to parents and caregivers affirming there are many people, including Jewish, Palestinian and Israeli students, who are closely affected.

It notes horrible images of war will affect various students differently and some may need extra support.

The board suggests beginning the conversation by asking the child or teen an open-ended question about how they feel, instead of assuming they are scared.

Kids Help Phone adds that it’s important to make time for kids to talk about frightening or graphic news and social media posts they may have seen.

The national child and youth helpline says parents can also suggest ways their kids can avoid too much exposure and care for themselves when they do see horrifying images.

Kids Help Phone also says kids may not talk directly about the conflict, but thoughts and emotions related to war can bring up other worries and fears in their lives.

It says it’s also OK if kids don’t want to talk to their parents right away. That’s a time to remind them of other adults they can turn to, including relatives, teachers, coaches and support services like the helpline.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 10, 2023.

Canadian Press health coverage receives support through a partnership with the Canadian Medical Association. CP is solely responsible for this content.

The Canadian Press


INsauga's Editorial Standards and Policies