Cultivating Hope and Growth in Children during Negative Times
By Marta A. Gea Franca
March is the start of spring. The cold winter weather slowly gives way to warmer temperatures and longer days. The change in seasons brings change to our lives. Spring is the time for new beginnings and new growth. It’s an opportunity to reflect and make changes regarding the negativity going on in society and around the world. It’s a time to bring awareness to how negativity has been affecting our mood and state of mind. Adults and children have expressed concerns about the fearful and hateful information they’ve been hearing and reading from the media and the environment. Children have been presenting high levels of anxiety about the negative world view messages to witch they’ve been exposure. Parents and caregivers are faced with questions about how to assist children in cultivating hope and developing healthy growth during negative times. Below are a few suggestions about how parents and caregivers can instill hope in children and provide children with opportunity for health growth.
Parents and caregivers want to provide children around with the support, reassurance and understanding they need to develop hope, a sense of security and self-regulation. This task can be especially difficult at times when parents also share many concerns and fears.
- Parents and caregivers need to check in with themselves about how they feel before talking to children about their concerns regarding negative messages about the world. To provide children with support, parents need to take care of themselves first.
- Think not only about how the information will be discussed, but also about how the information will come across when spoken.
- Listen to children’s concerns without being judgmental.
- Validate and normalize children’s concerns and feelings.
- Offer reassurance to children. They need to be able to find adults who will provide positive and hopeful information about the concerning and fear provoking information with which they’ve been in contact.
- Focus on the positive aspects of life and provide positive examples about specific situations causing children to be stressed about.
- Be available to discuss children concerns and worries when they arise.
- Monitor and limit children’s access to media and news exposure.
- Encourage the development of critical thinking by teaching children the difference between facts and opinions.
- Be playful and spend time with children.
Children respond differently to negative messages presented by the media and the environment. When children begin showing signs of intense distress and increase in anxiety symptoms affecting their daily lives functioning, it’s recommended that parents seek professional help. This is where Treehouse Counseling Services can support you and your family.