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EDITIONS
Breakfast Friday, 28 March, 2003, 19:54 GMT
What to tell the children
British paratrooper
Children may feel they're directly in danger
Non-stop TV coverage of the Iraq conflict has brought images of war straight into the living rooms of almost every family in the country.

As we struggle to make sense of the conflict, so, too, do our children.

For many youngsters, this is the first time they've seen real-life footage of fighting and bombing.

For some, it has extra poignancy, because their fathers, uncles or brothers may actually be serving with British forces in the Gulf.

On Monday's Breakfast debate, we asked: what should we tell our children about the war?

We want to know how you've handled the subject with your own children - and we want to hear your questions for our two experts on children.

Click here to go straight to Breakfast's email form.

At 8.45am this morning we spoke to Rose de Paeztron from Parentline Plus.

The organisation - which runs a telephone helpline for parents, grandparents and foster carers - says it's noticed an increase in calls about the war over the past few weeks.

Its top tips are:

  • Find out what your child knows already. You'll want to reassure them, but beware of raising a fear that they didn't even know about.

  • Try not to overload your children with too much information. For young children, keep it simple.

  • Try to contain your own fears, even if the war brings back unpleasant memories for you. Children often pick up cues from the adults around them.

  • Children may think they're in direct danger of attack even in this country. Make it clear to them that they're not - although be honest about the possibility of terrorist attack if they ask about it.

  • If you don't know the answer to a child's question, don't be afraid to say so. Some events are beyond your control


    Parentline plus runs a free, confidential help line: 0808 8000 2222

    Tell us your story or send your question to Breakfasttv@BBC.CO.UK

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