Parenting in times of war

Syrian refugee mother comforts her frightened daughter.
Syrian refugee mother comforts her frightened daughter. © iStockphoto Images


Parents and caregivers serve a critical role in mitigating the negative effects of crisis and war. And it is through nurturing, responsive, and consistent care that parents are able to support children’s health and development and even strengthen their child’s ability to cope with adversity. Yet unfortunately, programs targeting young children often neglect to consider the wellbeing of parents and caregivers. We know that when adults experience trauma and adversity, there’s often a direct effect on their ability to provide nurture and care. And research also indicates that caregivers exposed to violence may be more likely to live in households with inter-familial violence and conflict [and] their children may be more likely to experience neglect or violent discipline. And all of these experiences can result in children exhibiting long-term emotional, behavioral, and cognitive disabilities.

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