All parents want their children to be happy and carefree, protected from the world’s hurts and disappointments. But events sometimes turn the lives of children topsy-turvy in ways that leave them, baffled, uneasy, perhaps deeply troubled.
These disturbances, as discussed on the following pages, may rang from such seemingly innocuous situations as moving to a new house to serious occurrences like divorce or the death of someone the child loves. Children are hit particularly hard by such events because they involve loss and change, two experiences that threaten the security youngsters derive from stable and routine living patterns.
Another factor disturbing to the child is lack of control over what is happening. It is the parents, not the child, who decide whether to move, whether to have another baby, whether to divorce. No one consults the child about these important decisions. She is left feeling helpless in addition to feeling upset.
Doubtless the parents, too, are distracted and worried by the same problems at the same time, in some cases coping with emotions even more intense than those the child experiences. Nonetheless, caring parents will try to ease the pain and reduce the damage these crises can inflict. By understanding the emotional effects of such events and showing your child how to deal with them, you will help prepare him for the inevitable future disappointments and tragedies of life. Learning to survive a negative experience will make your child stronger.