Matters of death and life

There was an interesting Society Guardian article that was published today and seemed to imply that the levels of anxiety in children highlight by the NSPCC’s ChildLine service may be linked to increased exposure to news. (https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/nov/01/my-granddaughter-loses-sleep-over-terrorism-how-children-respond-global-events-brexit-childline?) The indication was that children lose sleep with concerns about Brexit, terrorism and a whole range of other global stories.

This isn’t something that is new though. I remember being petrified about the Cold War and the chances of a nuclear war breaking out. Yes I do have the Protect and Survive manual still somewhere in the mountain of books I possess. I remember working out whether I could get home from primary school should the warning be sounded. The end result was realising that I could not make it in four minutes so would have to die alongside my schoolfriends.

But it wasn’t just global issues that concerned me. I have long been terrified with fireworks and fire. I put this down to the graphic presentations from the fire service when I was in primary school. I remember working out how I could escape from the house if fire broke out, and to be thorough I had a range of plans depending on where the fire broke out. It is something I still carry with me as I always check my escape route when I stay somewhere else.

The only difference that children have today is they have much easier access to news and current affairs. We got information from the news and other programmes. So the 1980s dramas about a nuclear bomb going off were as impactive as the news reports of the arms race between the superpowers.

It doesn’t matter what we are worried out because there will always be things that as a youngster get fixed in our minds. The most important thing is that children are surrounded by love and a loving environment because that is what will make the difference. I remember very clearly feeling the love from my family and that was what conquered all those negative thoughts. That is where we must focus our efforts.

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