Monthly Article Archives: April 2003

Fear and Hope in Uncertain TimesRobert Brooks, Ph.D.

Not surprisingly, in the past few weeks I have received many questions from parents and other caregivers about how best to help children deal with the fears occasioned by war. I was asked similar questions after the terrorist attacks of September 11. There is a natural wish to protect our children from situations that arouse their anxiety and distress. One parent with two young children poignantly remarked, “I know it’s not possible, but I just feel like escaping with my two children and husband to a place where there is no mention or even threat of terrorism or war. I want my kids to be happy and not worried about war and terrorists.” This sentiment would be echoed by parents and other adults in all corners of our world. We cannot insulate our children from the reality of war, even one being waged thousands of miles from our shores. Continuous news coverage on television is dominated with scenes of bombings, machine gun and tank firings, POWs, and children and adults bloodied and bandaged. The cover of national magazines and the front page of newspapers display indelible images of a war that touches the psyches of adults and children alike. For

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