The Counseling Center for Parents and Children within Save the Children Mures organization has been confronted, since the beginning of hostilities in Ukraine, with a large number of children suffering from war anxiety, manifested by restlessness and, in some cases, by the fear of going to school for fear of the Russians.
"We have three psychologists, each advising 20 children and parents. (...) Over the problems that the children came up with, the problem of war and the way the children perceive it, the way in which they and their parents understand to manage fears overlapped. (...) Some of them say they don't want to go to school anymore because they're afraid because the Russians will come, they're going to conquer our city and they're going to hurt us. And then we turn to their parents and help the parents to manage their own anxiety because it is transmitted to the children. Then the children have different ages and depending on this they can internalize the information. If the little ones are afraid to go to school or are very restless, they have sleep disturbances, the big ones who already have their own idea of the war, they are afraid otherwise. Some of them are brave and say that they want to fight, to participate in the war because they will somehow manage it by themselves. This is a sign of great uncertainty. They worry about their lives, the lives of their parents, their friends," clinical psychologist Felicia Gurghian, with Save the Children Mures, said on Wednesday, Agerpres.ro informs.
The psychologist said that, besides children, parents are also advised, so as to learn to protect their children from the negative effect of television stations and to restrict their access to certain alarmist websites.
Parents are advised by psychologists to talk to the little ones about history and about the fact that probably their grandparents went through a war and survived and to explain that these things do not happen in Romania, and they are safe here.
"There would also be a need for counseling in school on this topic. Teachers can see what is happening to children, listen to their fears, validate their emotions and explain them so that their anxiety decreases. (...) The pandemic, if at first it scared us very much, along the way we managed to become resilient, we got used to it and we coped with things. I think the resilience gained in the pandemic also helps us manage the anxieties brought by the war. Compared to the pandemic, there too was a threat to their lives, anxiety is the same and just the topic is different. They are afraid of something else, not of a virus, but of a war. There are extremely violent images that scare them, that they try to explain, that they try to face," said the psychologist.