The political, economic and social context can produce stress and anxiety in the family nucleus; find here some tips to be able to talk with your little ones about it
In Latin American countries, as in others around the world, the recent political conditions have affected the homes of the citizens. The recent economic and social scandals that shake the globe trigger a wide variety of emotions among parents, teachers and family members. Therefore, it is necessary to explain to the little ones of the house, assertive and simply what is happening.
Dr. Rubén de la Rosa, a Venezuelan child psychologist, and director of the Creces y Asociados Project offers some guidelines to consider in order to have a fruitful conversation that allows children to digest the cocktail of events and emotions that are around them. When talking about situations in which there can be very strong feelings for them (fear, anger, sadness), the key factor is not to repress these emotions, because it is normal and even positive: "the main thing is to identify the feeling and assume it," advises the psychologist.
"By understanding that there is an accumulated energy in the body you can act either by speaking or by means of recourse, such as taking a cushion and hitting it, writing the names of things that bother and inflating it until it explodes, or drawing a picture on a balloon," explains the psychologist, who clarifies that children and adolescents are the most susceptible population to suffer from the changes of routines caused by the various national conflicts; the latter are the most vulnerable to the social problem.
Therefore, to try to channel the various feelings and reactions that cause the adverse circumstances in our children we must try to control ours, taking into account that children may refuse to understand what we can explain, in order to maintain their fantasy of control and tranquility.
So, how to talk to them about a conflictive situation?
According to De la Rosa, in the face of this mixture of emotions is when parents must orient them to transform anger into a positive element. "Rage is an energy. Depends on how you orient it can help the person to put limits on others, it can help defend themselves in a situation of risk. On the other hand, anger, if it transforms into something negative, can destroy, damage, overturn in the form of violence," De la Rosa defines.
For this, he offers the following tips on how to handle the situation according to age:
- Clarify concerns: make it clear that what happens is transitory and that everything will be much better for them later on.
- Do not minimize or exaggerate problems: it is important to help understand that it is not the fault of what happens and that it is normal to be afraid or upset.
- Listen patiently to your concerns with the subject treated and be patient when they ask the same questions repeatedly.
- Review together moments when the child overcame other fears and integrate those memories; this can contribute to improving the mood.
- Be prudent with what you say, do not give unnecessary details or speak from anger or repudiation. If you have made decisions regarding the situation that occurs, clarify why you have taken them.
- Distinguish your thoughts or criteria from others and do not generalize, avoid negative messages.
- Observe the feelings your children express and help them name them.
- Be available to give hugs, accompany crying and give caresses.
- Always transmit hope.
In any case, the parents should be "a means of channeling the emotions of children, not to pay more anguish," emphasizes the psychologist.
Latin American Post | Pilar Matos
Translated from "En el mundo de Trump, Maduro y Kim Jong-Un, ¿cómo explicar a los niños las situaciones difíciles?"