Experts give tips on how to talk to your kids about tensions in Middle East

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Memes of World War III and rumors of a draft have taken over social media timelines for a lot of children. That has some parents in the Triangle scrambling to figure out how to explain what’s happening in the world around them.

From the Federal Courthouse to Facebook, it can be hard to miss talk about the United States potentially going to war.

“When a President of the United States says we’re going to target cultural targets in the country of Iran, that puts our troops in danger,” said Air Force veteran Gerald Givens, Jr.

“Iran has been poking the stick at us for a long time,” said Steve Wolak. “I think it’s time that America should stand up and say, ‘OK, we’ve had enough of this.'”

“I think we’re on a drum beat for war,” said Givens.

In a post 9/11 America, most adults are used to our troops heading off to combat, but Dr. Kristen Wynns said kids are entering uncharted waters.

“They weren’t even around for 9/11, so for them hearing war for the first time is terrifying,” said Wynns. “I think, just as adults, we need to remember that, for them, it’s all-new territory.”

Families across the Triangle are now trying to figure out the best way to explain what’s happening. Wynns said for many families, honesty is the best answer.

“Overall the world is safe,” said Wynns. “We’re OK. Just help them staying away from the ‘what ifs’ because if any of us did this, even as adults, none of us would be able to leave our houses.”

For military families where mom or dad may be deploying, that conversation can be a little more tricky, but it’s best to have a plan.

“So we know this could happen, and if it does our family’s plan could be this,” said Wynns. “Really focus on step by step this is what we control and what we know.”

Those conversations should always be age-appropriate, but the message stays the same.

“Focus on the good things we have in our lives, and don’t temper it so it’s unrealistic,” said Wynns.

“Mom, dad, your brothers and sisters will be back,” said Givens.

Dr. Wynns suggests that you lean on your child’s guidance counselor or local psychologist if your child is struggling.

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