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How do you explain war to a 5yr old?

(11 Posts)
Maudy Fri 21-Mar-03 09:38:20

I'm sorry if this has been covered in other threads but I couldn't find it anywhere.

Has anyone explained the war to their small children and if so how did you go abut it? I have a 5yr old DS who has not started asking questions yet but as the war develops I'm sure he will become aware of what is going on. At the moment his feelings of good and eveil are very simplistic - Superman/Action Man = good, Baddies = bad, but I'm not sure how to go about explaining the war as it's obviously not as clear cut as all that. Yes, I agree that Saddam is a bad and evil dictator but are Bush and Blair really the goodies? I don't think so.

I so don't want to upset his fragile world but I know it is inevitable as we are now at war. It's very sad, can any one help?

breeze Fri 21-Mar-03 09:44:08

I rememeber when I was younger, I though war would mean the end of the world. I remember something on This Morning yesterday, saying that no matter what happens just make plans as normal, if a child sees that he/she will still go to the park on the weekend then they may realise that life still goes on. Not sure how you would go about telling them though. Probably wait until they ask you something.
Good Luck

EmmaTMG Fri 21-Mar-03 10:07:09

My DS1, who will be 4 in April, saw soldiers on the news this morning and pictures of missiles in the sky and asked what it was. My first response was to say 'well it's a bit difficult to explain' as I wanted to avoid this situation, he's far to young to understand war after all. He didn't seem unhappy with my answer but I thought I owed him a better explanation.
I said that there a very naughty man who live a long way away who isn't nice to people so the soldiers have gone to get him and tell him off. The rockets have squashed lots of things so that he hasn't got anywhere to live and has to go with the soldiers.
His reply was quite perfect..... 'and when they get him they are going to put him in gaol because he's horrid'
I just think if only it was that simple.

Tortington Fri 21-Mar-03 10:29:26

sorry no advice specifically maudy. however i had to explain it to my 10 year old twins who by the way are studying the second WW at school and have it in their heads we are gonna be bombed any minute.

i was perfectly honest with them - told them it wouldnt be a bomb it would be a chemicle weapon in all liklihood adn we would be dead before we knew it - so not to worry about it! - i know this may sound weird to you lot - but it did the trick - i supplimented that with the comfort of saying " who would want to let a weapon off in worthing anyway? they will do it in London!!" they were happy

bossykate Fri 21-Mar-03 11:33:23

hi everyone

i found CBBC Newsround Guide to the war in Iraq , which explains the issues for children.


Maudy Fri 21-Mar-03 11:40:10

Well found Bossykate, this site looks really useful.

I think your explanation EmmaTMG was a good, simple one as children have no need to understand any political background. I will probably try somethinng similar when asked.

Thanks for all advice.

KMG Sat 22-Mar-03 09:42:00

It's tough isn't it? DS1 (5.5) had an assembly at sch. yesterday, head told them they didn't need to be worried about the war, and that no bombs would drop here. He came out of sch. and told me that, and said "But I am worried mummy. I'm worried about the people in Iraq who will die when the bombs drop. and I'm worried about the English and American soldiers who will die. And Nathan said that 7 soldiers have died already, is that right mummy?" ... He's only 5.

KMG Sat 22-Mar-03 09:43:29

Thanks for that site Bossykate

EmmaTMG Sat 22-Mar-03 10:32:58

Ohh, KMG that bought a tear to my eye. They're so innocent and yet nowadays know so much about whats going on around them. It's hard not to be worried as an adult but for a 5 year old it must be overwhelming.
My DS1 will be 4 next months and hasn't experience the 'worried feeling' about anything as far as I know. I'm not sure how I'd approach it if he said something like your DS. I do hope he's not worrying to much.

Maudy Mon 24-Mar-03 09:15:55

Oh, KMG that's heartbreaking and is exactly what I am worried about. I know we can't sheild our children from all the horrors of the world and who knows what this war will develop into and the repercussions it may have, but for now I want him to stay as innocent as possible for as long as possible.

There is also a part of me that wants to be open and explain to him what is going on but until he asks I think I will just let it be.

Janeway Tue 25-Mar-03 07:15:05

my neices and nephews have been talking this through with their grandparents who were their age in WW2, this seams to help.

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