Wednesday Wisdom: Awareness Rather Than Fear

January 30, 2008 at 10:10 pm | Posted in children, dads, Families, moms, Mothers, parents, teens, toddlers, Tweens, Wednesday Wisdom | Leave a comment
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Parents often teach their children to be fearful of dangerous situations.  This is an attempt to protect them from the immediate danger.   Unfortunately when you teach fear about one incident you also teach fear about life.  When you teach fear you are also teaching your child to be a victim.  This is a serious negative cycle you set up when you use fear to try to protect your children from danger!

How can you teach awareness rather than fear?  The first thing you need to do is understand the difference between fear and awareness.  Two weeks ago I saw a little girl skiing.  She fell and somersaulted down a steep pitch for about fifteen feet.  When she came to a stop her mother skied over to her and screamed, “Are you all right? My baby, my baby.  What am I going to do?  Help.  I need help!”  At the same time her aunt came over. She bent down, quietly asked the girl if she was all right.  Could she move?  When the girl wiggled and sat up the aunt gently hugged her.  And the mother was still in her panic, yelling for help.  The girl actually put on her skis and said to her mother, “I am really OK.  Aunty Sarah took care of me.”

This is a profound difference between using fear and awareness.  The mother used fear and the little girl never felt taken care of, while the aunt used awareness and the little girl new she was being taken care of.

When you teach basic areas of danger, the kitchen stove for example, teach your children that the stove is hot let them feel the heat that rises without actually touching anything or being burned.  To teach the dangers of traffic put some apples and oranges in the street- being careful yourself,  of course.  Explain that what happens to oranges and apples is what happens to children as well.  You are not scaring your child.  You are having your child be aware of the danger.

With older children is it not as necessary to be as concrete.  When talking to them about situations that can be dangerous, whether is be the internet, dating, sledding.  Be simple in your explanation of the danger.  Acknowledge its presence, but don’t dwell on it.  Use words that instill confidence and control.  Start with, “You may already know this.  As your parent it is my responsibility to be sure you understand the situation as well.”  This sets the tone to be educational rather than emotional.

One of the best indicators of using fear or awareness is to check and see if you are negatively emotional or sharing information.  If you are negatively emotional then you are instilling fear in your child.  If you are sharing information, teaching then you are using awareness.

Awareness will give your child the ability to think in critical and dangerous situations.  Most people who survive life threatening situations, whether induced by others or by accident, do so by having the ability to be aware of the situation and think of a solution.

Enjoy our Free Motivational Monday Podcast on Family Safety!

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