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I am just back from a family vacation--three generations, five grandsons ages 6-11. I had a front row seat watching the boys compete in sports, sing rap songs, climb mountains, tease each other. No little guys anymore. With the older ones almost as tall as I am, and knowing the vulnerability that comes with adolescence, I have concerns. How do we keep growing kids emotionally safe as they become interested in the world around them--especially when the news reports regularly cover mass murders, war casualties, and terror alerts?
Studies show that close to 4% of teenage boys and more than 6% of teenage girls suffer from post-traumatic stress, exhibiting symptoms similar to adults. And the reactions of younger children are strongly affected by their parents’ response to stress. Those ages 5-12 are more likely to withdraw, become disruptive, have nightmares or complain of physical problems.
You don’t have to personally experience abuse, neglect or trauma to feel anxiety and stress. Second-hand exposure to major acts of violence can also be traumatic. This includes seeing or hearing about death and destruction after a building is bombed or a plane crashes. With the impact of mass media and easy access to the Internet, children today are exposed to lots of situations that can cause them to worry. And when your conversations focus on suffering or tragedy, you can bet that your kids are often listening more closely than you think.
You know what your family needs and how to provide a sense of security.
Explain that scared, angry or sad feelings are normal and will fade when they ask questions and talk about what’s going on. As you supervise the flow of information, encourage them to tell you what their friends are saying, so you can clarify any distortions. Reassure them that they’re safe no matter what thoughts they’re having. All this will help them reframe their ideas rather than fall prey to emotion.
Readers, tell us about how you teach your kids to keep the harmful effects of stress at a minimum. And log on again Wednesday for more ideas about helping kids take precautions and feel safe while still not letting fear win.
Labels: athletes, character strength, consistency, games, gold medal, gratitude, Kerri Walsh, London, Misty May, Olympics, positive psychology, resilience, Serena Williams, support, teamwork, virtue, women
Labels: athletes, character strength, friendship, Gabby Douglas, games, gold medal, gratitude, London, loyalty, Marty Seligman, Olympics, positive psychology, resilience, support, Title 9, virtue, women
History is always made at the Olympics. But for the first time, in 2012
Of course, winning is important. But with the competitors serving as role models for our children, strength of character and positive values really matters too. Aren’t we all eager to hear the athletes’ personal stories? Fortunately the same threads often weave throughout--follow your heart, love what you do, reach for your goals, don’t limit your dreams, work hard and have fun.
The first time female athletes from
Maziah Mahusin, the first woman to carry the national flag of
Also chosen as flag bearer, Bahiya Al-Hamad, an air rifle shooter, speaks about changing attitudes in
Sarah Attar, a distance runner from
When Frenchman Baron Pierre de Coubertin spearheaded the first modern Olympics in 1896 he excluded women, saying it would be "impractical, uninteresting, unaesthetic, and incorrect." This year the
Afghan sprinter Tahmina Kohistani is symbolic of the advances made by women Olympians. She is only the third woman in the history of her war-torn country and the only woman this year. "A lot of people are supporting me, but a lot of people don’t. Some time they were saying that I’m not a good girl because I’m doing sport. They think I am wrong, but I am not wrong. If I got a medal, I think I will start a new way for the girls (and) women of
Bringing these women, courageous and filled with gratitude, into the
In 2009 we featured Dr. Carol Orsborn on a Virtual Book Tour right here on the blog. We’ve known each other for years through our work online. But since Carol moved back to
We’re delighted that Carol is our guest blogger today. With many of us about to travel before summer’s end, here are Carol’s recent reflections on her much needed vacation:
My husband Dan and I have been working much harder than we’d ever anticipated to be doing at age 64. And normally, I’m fine with this. But as the vision of a dream retirement–work and stress-free–fades with every down tick of the stock market, I paid heed to my spirit crying out for at least a moment’s taste of freedom. So a week ago, we headed 2 hours east of
As is my habit, I grabbed a spiritual book off my shelf to bring with me, eyes closed. So imagine my delight when it turned out to be poet May Sarton’s “Journal of a Solitude.” Our first morning there, in the summer camp air, it was as if May were writing the words in my own heart, each word a deliverance to sanity just to know that I was not alone in my yearning.
She writes: “For a long time now, every meeting with another human being has been a collision. I feel too much, sense too much, am exhausted by the reverberations after even the simplest conversation. But the deep collision is and has been with my unregenerate, tormenting, and tormented self. I have written every poem, every novel, for the same purpose—to find out what I think, to know where I stand. I am unable to become what I see. I feel like an inadequate machine, a machine that breaks down at crucial moments, grinds to a dreadful halt, ‘won’t go,’ or, even worse, explodes in some innocent person’s face.”
It was only a 3-day trip, but halfway through day 2, I could already feel my spirit responding to the sight of a mother duck paddling along with her 6 babies, my resilience as well as the meaning of life restored. My encounters with others were delightful. I started journaling again.
I’ve been back a couple of days now, and I’m still walking around with a silly grin on my face, having remembered why it is I do what I do, and having forgiven myself for the gap between vision and reality.
So that’s how I knew how badly I’d needed a vacation. Life transformed from a collision to a celebration. Thanks, Big Bear, for helping me to remember what life is really about.
Readers, if you’ve been able to get away this summer, send a photo and description of your most meaningful moments to Mentors@HerMentorCenter.com We’d love to hear from you.
And thanks Carol, for reminding us of the benefits that can result from making a change. Carol is the founder of FierceWithAge, the
Passing beyond midlife initiates a new life stage. Knowing how determined you are to make the next stage of your life as vital as the decades that have come before, I recommend that you join in beginning August 6 for interactive, self-paced lessons delivered every weekday for three weeks directly to your inbox.
Learn more about the next retreat here. Carol, a wise and sensitive guide, is exploring uncharted territory in the field of aging. She also provides spiritual counseling to those who strive to stop being afraid of age, to instead become fierce with age.