SCOTTSDALE, AZ — With the war in Ukraine dominating the headlines local psychologists say Russian-American children are starting to be bullied here at home.
ABC15 Health Insider Dr. Emily Bashah says she's seeing micro-aggressions against children of Russian descent starting to rise.
She explains that children tend to oversimplify things which is why words matter more than ever when it comes to explaining what's happening between Russia and Ukraine.
The number one thing to remember is that kids will mirror what their parents say and do.
Dr. Bashah says to try to avoid general terms like 'them vs. Us,' 'good vs. Evil.'
Don't keep your kids in a bubble but, she does suggest limiting what they're exposed to. Extreme violence on TV, loud conversations and arguments in the home can be traumatizing and lead to nightmares or anxious and worried behavior.
Instead, keep it simple and let your kids lead the conversation and answer their questions.
She also advises you to reassure them that what's happening is far away and it's not going to uproot their lives like the pandemic has which is what has led to instability for many children up to now.
"Reiterating to them, 'Hey, this isn't happening here you're still going to be going to school, you're still going to be with your friends on the weekends.' There's still going to be that stability for them so if they have any unusual expectations or fear of disruptions, it eases that."
Dr. Bashah says it's also important to balance the conversation and find the positives for kids to cling to because she says a lot of kids are also expressing more concern for Ukrainian classmates.
Pointing to how parts of the world are coming together to help those in need and involving them in any donations you may be sending can help.