War & Terrorism

Children and youth can be affected by the consequences of war and terrorism for many reasons, particularly in times where there is extreme suffering and strife in many places throughout the world. They can experience violence and loss directly, be exposed through extensive media and Internet coverage, deal with the stress of parents who are deployed or are in harm’s way as emergency responders and law enforcement officials, or be displaced by violence or oppression and become refugees. Children’s natural resilience plays an important protective role but trauma and extreme stress and anxiety can interfere with their learning and well-being. Families and educators can support children by establishing a sense of safety and security, helping them to process their thoughts and feelings, reinforcing their resilience and strengths, building positive connections within the school community, placing events in the proper context, and providing any needed mental health supports. Schools must also be vigilant regarding the needs of students who may be at risk of being unfairly stigmatized because of a perceived resemblance to perpetrators of violence and reinforce the value and importance of diversity in our country.

Related Resources

Helping Children Cope With Terrorism: Tips for Parents & Educators
Share this handout with parents and teachers with information on how to help children feel safe and secure in the face of fears surrounding current events.

Promoting Compassion & Acceptance in Crisis
Adults can help children understand the importance of treating all people with dignity and not judging entire groups of people for the actions of a few.

Supporting Refugee Children & Youth: Tips for Educators
Share this handout with educators on how they can help meet the unique needs of refugee children and families.

How Children Cope With Ongoing Threat and Trauma: The BASIC Ph Model
Understanding how children and adolescents cope with trauma and the psychological stress associated with extended periods of feeling at-risk is critical to helping them manage their reactions.