Father Sez

From and to parents - parental advice to our children on personal financial management and life.
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How do we prepare our kids to handle stress?

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

Many adults are being seriously stressed by the current economic environment. Plunging retirement accounts, job losses and plunging businesses are contributors. These stresses are reflected in worried faces and forlorn looks at home, and often harsh responses to innocent questions by the kids. 

Children do get stressed too. And as parents, we often just brush it off and do not give it the attention it deserves. Children and young adults get stressed up about exams, relationships in and outside school, their parents’ relationships, parental expectations and a whole host of other things. Read Channel 4’s take on Young Lives under Pressure.  

We learn in our adult life that knowing how to handle stress is important, and in fact, often live saving. And we take steps to better handle this stress. Young adults start their working lives not really capable of handling stress. And we all know how stressful working life can be.  

Picture Credit: Google 

So shouldn’t we start talking to our children earlier on how to manage stress? 

My belated advice to my children on handling stress is to learn not to worry. Worrying will not solve anything. If it could, by now I should have solved the world’s hunger problems….hehe 

Sometimes we do get into situations which seem insurmountable. Then we should seek the help and guidance of the All Mighty. As Muslims, my family has the Quran to fall back upon as the ultimate guide. Reading and understanding the Quran and its advice when it comes to matters of “tests” upon us, is very soothing and calming. 

Third you can sing! Just open a window or go to a washroom and sing! People are happy because they sing, not that they sing because they are happy. A really great song that I strongly recommend is “Hakunama Tata”, the theme song from The Lion King. 

Fourth, exercise. A good brisk jog or a walk should clear away a lot of worries. Maybe it’s something to do with the pumping of oxygen into the brain, I don’t know. The doctors talk about endomorphins and stuff like that. They must do some good. 

Fifth, you can take time out and immerse yourself into an activity that you love. Like taking your rabbit out for a walk. Or watching a movie. Or listening to some songs. Or doing some gardening. 

Sixth, you can look at what would be the worst that could happen. Usually we realise that no permanent damage would be involved. Than why on earth should we worry? This rule can be applied in all those seemingly most important relationship issues.  

Life will be sure to bring about a lot of stressful situations.  

But most of them can be avoided as “we have to allow them to become stressful”.  All we have to do is not to give them permission!!!

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