Kids and War

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As talk about war and terrorist attacks becomes more frequent, it gets harder to protect our children from hearing this potentially frightening information.

Some child counselors say the best way parents can handle topics like war and terrorism is by staying calm and keeping communication open.

Tammy Donovan worries how her children will deal with reports of war with Iraq and possible terrorist attacks here at home.

"We do watch the news together and [my daughter] asks questions. Then, I'm there to explain it to her. It's never on without me there," said Donovan.

Bruce Parks is the manager of children's services at Janet Wattles. He says younger children have a hard time understanding what they're hearing or seeing on TV.

"It may have gotten so mixed up in their mind that they're more fearful than they need to be," Parks said.

Parks says if parents think their child may be having problems, they should look for differences in their behavior. Here are some warning signs: for younger children - clinging, stomach aches, problems at school; for teenagers - more acting out, isolation, withdrawal.

Parks says the key is to keep communication open.

Tammy says she's trying to do just that. She says her four-year-old daughter is a little too young to understand, but her six-year-old son is catching on.

"He comes home and asks questions, did we get them yet, have we gone to war. He wanted to watch the State of the Union address so we sat and watched that, so he's catching on quite a bit," said Parks.

Parks suggests parents reassure their children that they are safe and that law enforcement and our government are doing everything they can to protect them.