In former times, a young boy was considered to have the necessary qualities to become a member of the tribe if he could pass a night alone in the wilderness, desert or jungle safely. To accomplish this right of passage successfully, the young boy needed to be fearless, to have survival skills, and to know how to function in an emergency.
It is important for everybody to develop skills to deal with the world as it is, not as we think it should be. Adults who make their children fearful instead of giving them the necessary skills to deal with their world, are doing the children a disservice. Their children will miss some of the best things the world has to offer because of their inability to survive in our culture’s wilderness.
Stress in children is a recognized problem, and more and more guidelines are becoming available for parents in helping their children. Adults can be helpful to children by not transmitting their fears to them. Many times when a family is in distress, the children do not know what is going on. They hear bits and pieces of conversations and then their imaginations take over and they become fearful. It is important that parents understand that children feel tension in the family and need to know that adults are in charge and will take care of them.
Children can be helped by finding a friend. Someone who likes them for themselves, a friend they can confide in. It is important that children have an adult they trust that they can talk to and who accepts them completely as a person no matter what they say or do. This does that mean that the adults accepts or condones all their actions.
We all feel stress and fear at some time. Whether it makes us immobile or whether we learn from it is up to us. We need to control it and help our children to do the same. In families, all members can help each other by being good listeners, by being good huggers, by being encouraging, by having fun and by finding joy.