Helping Our Children Feel Safe in a Changing World.
What they learn about the world comes largely through media. So…
- Watch news with your children and help them understand what they are seeing. Create awareness of how events are presented and what they mean.
- Teach children about political bias and how it works. Children who view media with parents, and even teachers, have a much greater understanding of what is presented. http://drnancyonline.com/
- Try to help your children keep an open mind about media news and become conscious viewers! The topic of viewing media consciously is addressed in Get Reel: Produce Your Own Life. http://drnancyonline.com/
How they are affected is implied by the attitudes of those around them.
- Help them to handle discussions and even arguments with peers. Most schools have class elections to help children understand the voting process so this is an opportunity to talk about the discussions that these elections stir. Discuss listening respectfully and responding respectfully in discussions.
- Be careful what you say around your children. It is not unusual for children to repeat things such as, “My daddy said that if you vote for ______ that you are crazy,” or “That appointee is going to take away our clean water.” Fear of things that might happen can be avoided by taking care with what you say.
Actual effects of unrest involve change, which can be very difficult for children.
- The affects of change may be very indirect or very direct for children. Both types of change can have different effects on children involving challenging their feelings of safety and security. Safety and security that is doubly and directly threatened by problems in children’s own neighborhoods and families may result in anxiety, acting out, school phobia, sleep issues, nightmares and other phobias. Watch for such symptoms and seek help for children who are showing signs and symptoms. Go to the Psychology Today Directory: https://therapists.
- Directly, as a part of the baby boomer generation, I recall keeping a bomb shelter in the basement and having bomb drills at school. Now children have lock-down drills in the event of shooters. Schools in my own city were on lock-down just last week, due to a shooter on the loose. Students who are under going personal change such as a divorce, death in the family, parental loss of a job or a move are much more likely to have their feelings of safety shaken by lock-down drills, threats of losing their health insurance, or parents job security. School counselors offer individual and group counseling for children under stress and there are community resources for grieving children.
- Indirectly, children will hear that others are affected by current events and can develop fears that such things will happen to them that may be rational or irrational. Help them to know the difference.
- Finally and mot important, give your children the greatest degree of safety and security that you can, but be realistic. Don’t tell them that nothing bad will ever happen to them, but let them know what they can count on and what they can’t and what you can do to keep them safe in an ever-changing world. Let them know that they are resourceful.
Additional Thoughts on How Parents can help themselves:
- Self-care, get help if you are under distress, use relaxation techniques, address your own fears and concerns, so you can be available for your children
- Never compromise your morals or values and ask children to do the same. Be who you are and watch role models who will exemplify how to be kind and moral.
Join me at Huffington Post with other experts to learn how to Keep Children Safe.