Talking to Children about Complex & Sensitive Topics: The Israel – Hamas War

Like it? Share it!

Talking to children about complex and sensitive topics like the Israel – Hamas war can be challenging.

It is important to understand that images & videos cannot be unseen.

As the conflict in Israel worsens, it’s important to get your kids off Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter X. If not, prepare them for what they might see: videos of the atrocities and horrifying images of a brutal and distressing war.

It’s important to address the horrors of the world in age appropriate ways and with the maturity and personality of your child firmly in your mind.

Don’t avoid discussing Hamas-Israel conflict with your children because ignoring tricky questions could drive  them on to the internet, where disinformation runs riot.

As the conflict between Israel and Hamas intensifies, so too does the battle being waged online.

For generations, propaganda has always unfolded alongside warfare; but conflicts now are coming under increased scrutiny through social media. So, don’t put your head in the sand. Embrace the opportunity to support your children whatever their age in handling their exposure to the media.

In The Sue Atkins Book Club there are:

Books To Celebrate Jewish Culture and Learn About Antisemitism

Celebrating Muslim Children’s Books

Tolerance in Troubled Times: Children’s Books To Help You Start Important Conversations.

Books about Refugees and Asylum Seekers


Here are some general guidelines for discussing this topic with children of different ages:

Preschoolers (Ages 3-5):

Keep it simple: Use age-appropriate language and concepts.

Focus on feelings: Discuss emotions like fear, sadness, and the importance of safety.

Emphasise love and security: Reassure them of your love and that you’ll protect them.

Primary School (Ages 6-11):

Start with questions: Ask what they already know or have heard, to gauge their understanding.

Provide basic facts: Explain the conflict in simple terms, emphasising peace and diplomacy.

Encourage questions: Be prepared to answer their inquiries honestly and age-appropriately.

Promote empathy: Encourage them to consider how people on both sides might be feeling.

Middle School (Ages 12-14):

Provide more context: Discuss the historical background and perspectives of both sides.

Encourage critical thinking: Help them develop their own opinions and consider multiple viewpoints.

Discuss media literacy: Teach them to critically evaluate news sources and information.

Secondary  School (Ages 15-18):

Engage in deeper discussions: Encourage them to research and discuss the political, social, and historical aspects of the conflict.

Foster empathy and tolerance: Discuss the impact of the conflict on individuals and communities.

Encourage them to take action: Explore ways they can promote peace and understanding.
Regardless of the age, maintain open communication, ensure they feel safe, and adapt your approach based on their maturity and individual needs. Avoid sharing graphic or distressing images, and be mindful of your own emotions during these conversations.

Remember that it’s okay if you don’t have all the answers. If your child asks a question you can’t answer, it’s perfectly fine to say you’ll research it together or seek guidance from experts or educators.

Related Articles

The Sue Atkins

Parenting Show

Discussing every possible aspect of parenting, giving you advice and support on topics which affect your daily life. Each free, weekly episode is bursting with practical tips, techniques and ideas.

Hi, I'm Sue Atkins

I will teach you my no-nonsense, simple techniques & give you hundreds of my expert parenting articles, videos & podcasts so you can get back to the business of having fun with your family!

As Seen or heard in