When is it the right time to talk about war?

Submitted by PAUL C on April 27 2012 09:04 AM

Like most parents I try and limit the exposure my kids have to violence on television and other media forms.  Of course they don’t live in a bubble, but I don’t think they need to see all the graphic images that we are exposed to during the evening news programs.

With Anzac Day celebrations this week, it seemed like the right time to have the first discussions about war. Of course my five year old bought home some lovely craft and attended the schools ANZAC Day assembly. So he had lots of questions - some really big ones.

“Why do countries go to war?  What are they fighting about? Do they kill each other with guns?  Are they dead forever?”  As most of us do, I tried to keep things pretty simple in my explanations. . .

There is a fine line between giving them too little information and overwhelming them with all the gory details.  But it is hard to explain adult violence when we are all trying to teach our kids not to hurt anybody or anything.

However, I do feel it is important to tell them about our history and acknowledge those brave Australians (and New Zealanders) who have died trying to protect our country and the freedoms we all enjoy today. 

So now he knows why he was asked to write “Lest We Forget” at the bottom of his craft this week and what it actually means.  As they get older we will take them to the dawn service and they may even march with their great grandfather’s medals when the time is right.

Did Anzac Day spark any conversations with your children? Or is it simply a day off and a yummy Anzac biscuit?


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