I find myself thinking abt this question a lot, recently.
We’ve been working w schools to provide tools like our emotions scale, to help kids simply put common words to what they’re feeling – usually arising from specific events they’re living thru.
THIS is where we’re still at in 2020 – needing a way to normalize that: we all feel emotions, emotions fluctuate on a continuum, emotions are most often related to events happening in our lives.
So, if as a society, we haven’t even cracked the code on the above, of course we’re WAY behind on finding ways to get our kids to open up abt fears & question they/we merely “think about,” unrelated to life events happening in front of us.
We’re mostly blank slates when we’re born. Then our view of the world is shaped by what we experience. But we’re creative & curious beings. My era grew up watching cartoons like: Smurfs, Scooby Doo, He-Man & She-Ra. Ya know how many pretty ridic scenarios/magical creatures/ideas, alternate universes were posed in shows like that? Though some of the characters have changed, kids are even more glued to the screen now, viewing “worlds of imagination.”
This gets the mind thinking. It’s not a bad thing. And cartoons are only one aspect of how our minds as kids can go to, “creative” places. Take a scenario real world scenario that comes w “what if’s”: mom & dad fighting loudly & we sit & wonder – what happens if they get divorced? Will they ever love each other again? Where will me & my siblings live?
The common denominator in the examples above is – things we create in our minds that we haven’t openly discussed w adults. Then, when we think/feel them, & since they haven’t been discussed, we think we’re aliens for having these thoughts, & we’re the ONLY ones. When my older brother was sick all those yrs, my mind went to some STRANGE places w existential questions (& to prove it I needed to share this ridic outfit my mom dressed me in ).
Know what this does to a developing brain? Fear/anxiety/worry/“what if scenarios.” And yet if we were encouraged to share – we’d see how not weird those “weird” thoughts actually were.
Let’s encourage our kids to talk abt these things, so they don’t feel so alone & like they’re the only ones. If we as adults show vulnerability & share even the simplest questions & fears we have w our kids, we won’t scare them…we’ll open up conversation, help them feel less alone, & give them a head start on adulthood in knowing that they aren’t aliens, that our minds all go to “those places” of curiosity & wonder. They/we aren’t weird, this is a natural part of life we can embrace & discuss.