April 7, 2012

Helping Children Through Turmoil.

Photo: Mrs. Logic

Consistency and Meditation as Tools for the Family.

The Rocking Horse Winner,” a short story by D.H. Lawrence, is the sad tale of a boy named Paul who is privy to the constant bickering of his parents.

His mother, beautiful, talented and born to considerable means, is never satisfied.

Listening to her complaints and the raised voices of his parents in the adjoining room frightens and overwhelms the child. Unable to stop the arguing or come to the aid of either parent, he begins to rock feverishly on his wooden horse.

This story ends in tragedy with a lesson about the sheer vulnerability of a child whose size renders him powerless.

Just as Lawrence’s fictional child, many children experience their world spiraling out of control.

The loss of the predictable can stem from among a myriad of circumstances. Some are irrevocable: when parents separate or divorce; others, more transient: a move, a change of school.

Times of economic uncertainty, when expenses skyrocket, jobs are lost, benefits cut and household debt mounts, lend additional stress. As parents become overwhelmed, children pick up on their anxiety. They do not have the tools or the maturity to comprehend what is happening and are helpless to intervene and or return things to the way they were.

The impact of such situations will depend on the child’s age and personality. Experiences that are not dealt with can cause emotional or behavior changes in a child, causing him or her to become aggressive or withdrawn.

A feeling of helplessness in childhood can result in long-standing problems.

How can one help children make sense of disruption and to reduce stress in their lives?

Establishing as much consistency as possible is a smart beginning. Repetition and reassurance the change in circumstances is not the fault of the child can help alleviate guilt.

Photo: Kate Hiscock

Meditation is a valuable tool is available to everyone regardless of spiritual or religious orientation and is an outstanding method of alleviating stress. A family practice can draw members closer together.

Meditation provides the opportunity to understand and process emotions. Through meditation, one can learn not to be reactive and angry while growing in love and compassion amidst turmoil. Even when difficult issues surface during meditation, acknowledging them is a path towards healing.

Family challenges are inevitable, but we must attend to the responses and needs of children in a family during turmoil if we hope for them to become happy healthy adults.


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