How to talk with Your Kids About Ukraine

I’m not a child psychologist. But I think most of parenting is about communication, especially about difficult topics. Sex and drugs? Talk early and frequently. This goes for all tough topics – make things age appropriate but let your kids know the difference between good choices and bad, right and wrong, healthy and unhealthy.

And this goes for world conflicts and the current conflagration in Ukraine with the Russian invasion.

In our household, it’s been an opportunity for this lover of history (me) to lecture the kids on historical precedent. 1. No, there hasn’t been huge scale war between major powers of Europe since 1945, 2. A huge worry is this escalating from something “small” into something quite larger. World War I started, after all, between a tiny, regional spat and dragged in all the major powers of Europe practically by accident.

But here are some of the topics we’ve repeatedly discussed in our household.

1.     1. Why is there a war?

Because one bully wants power. That’s how most wars begin – bullies (and let’s be honest…it’s always a man) who have no friends think they’re important when they have power. So…they act like bullies.

2. 2.     So we hate the Russians?

No. The Russians aren’t bad people. They’re protesting in the streets, too. They just have some very bad leaders. That’s why we need to read books be smart and tbe smart when we vote for our own leaders.

3.    3. We are good and the Russians are bad?

Remember – it’s not the Russians who are bad. It’s their leaders. In this situation, yes. The Ukrainians are being beat up, and we are on their side. But we’ve done lots of bad things, too. We aren’t perfect. We’ve caused wars to happen that should not have happened.

4.    4. Are people dying?

Yes. Some are. It’s very sad.

5.     5. Are we going to be in the war?

I really hope not, kiddo. We can fight the war in other ways than guns, luckily. And I *hope* that’ll be enough.

6.     6. Can we help out?

Actually yes. With money. (Cuz I’m not letting you grab a kalishnikov and join the citizen soldiers.) It’s always about money. Check out three resources I know of that are getting money to Ukrainian banks (and hopefully citizens) to help their efforts.

7.     7. Why does this matter?

Because we do have to stand up for what’s right in the world – like freedom to pick your own leaders. Also – unfortunately, we need to set the precedent that taking over another country is not tolerated. Others could do this, too – like China with Taiwan.

And while I’ve got your attention, know that there are ways you can help in the effort.

Mainly – of course the Ukrainians need money and support as these people, most of them untrained citizen soldiers are preparing Molotov cocktails in the streets.

Five ways you can financially assist those on the ground:

  1. a non-profit working with people affected since the Crimean take-over in 2014.
  2. Save the Children – an international non-profit devoted to helping children in war-torn, impoverished areas.
  3. Ukraine’s Military Emergency Fund. The National Bank of Ukraine has opened a special account to raise funds for the Ukrainian Army. Anyone from any country can donate. The account is multi-currency. It is opened for transfers of funds from international donors. For donations in USD: SWIFT Code NBU: NBUA UA UX;  JP MORGAN CHASE BANK, New York; SWIFT Code: CHASUS33; Account: 400807238; 383 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10179, USA; Bank account: UA843000010000000047330992708
  4. Support responsible journalism. We know that without responsible journalism, we lack truth and accountability. Support Independent Journalism in Ukraine, Project 7,62. They are an independent, volunteer-run initiative that isn’t sponsored by any governments or funds. The team is made up of volunteers from Ukraine and other countries, who use their personal time and resources to collect and analyze accurate information for you about Russian troops on the Ukrainian border. Website: Paypal:
  5. UkrainePride. Having the experience of participation and direct organization of the Revolution of Dignity, they are mobilizing and coordinating with military operations, resistance movement, local self-defense, volunteering, and other activities. Their social media is asking for direct donations. They are united with the Ukrainian LGBTQ military Військові ЛГБТ та наші союзники Ukrainian LGBT Soldiers and our Allies, people who have sworn allegiance to Ukraine and the Ukrainian people and with whom we went through the Revolution of Dignity side by side. Contribute to UkrainePride via PAYPAL +14152799995