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Fear of Government

children-fear-sitting-in-cornerFear of government and government officials, once only found in third world and developing countries, has rushed the shores of America in an unprecedented way. Chapman University’s third annual survey of American Fears (October 2016) found 60% of American adults feared corruption of government officials. Fear of government and government officials ranked highest – above terrorism, poverty, and the death of a family member. Government restrictions on firearms and ammunition ranked higher than financial collapse, theft, and serious illness. Fear of flying, fear of heights, fear of dying, and fear of the dark are commonly known fears shared by many. However, fears have changed – and the populace is responding. Intimidation, bullying, and physical and psychological abuse have increased in epidemic proportions. Toddlers, adolescents, teens, and adults are affected by this fundamental change. When mommy and daddy are fearful, children are fearful; when teachers report on government oversight and interference, children become scared. When everywhere you go there is access to political negativity, children have questions – many of which remain unanswered, leading to flight, fright, and for younger children, fights. Improving Lives Counseling Services treats phobias, depression, and social anxiety.

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown” (H.P. Lovecraft). Election year parenting is more challenging than ever. Children as young as 10 get news through cell phones, tablets, and laptops. Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram inform hours before parents turn on a television or log in to a device. It is always on and always there – void fact checkers and parental controls. Presidential and congressional rallies are held in school auditoriums and gymnasiums; signs are handed to children and they are posed for pictures and fliers. A 10-year-old rushed home and asked if he was going to be deported, an 8-year-old thought his mother would be shot if she tried to vote. Millions are rallying, thousands are polling, signs are in yards, bumper stickers are on cars. Everyone proclaims a fight for the children, yet it’s those very children who are left in the fringes; responding to media they don’t understand, fearful of people they have never met, and spewing what they see and hear in classrooms, on playgrounds, and with an online community using language that wouldn’t be acceptable in most classrooms or in most homes. A Tennessee third grader told minority students “there will be a wall to keep all brown kids out”. A sixth-grader told his parents, “everyone’s going to college and it will be free.” When kids see something unfair, they take it to heart. Foul language on a recent video was shown on 21 cable networks and local stations nationwide.

How do you protect your children? You can’t protect them from the world they live in, however, you can use open, honest communication and schedule regular mental health check-ups. Mental health screening is one of the quickest and easiest ways to determine if symptoms of a phobia, behavioral disorders, or if a mental health condition is being experienced. Children are growing in statue and mind. They are learning who they are and where they fit in; religiously, socially, ethnically, and economically. What they see and hear sticks with them; their backs aren’t strong enough to “let things roll off.” Surveys show adolescents and teens are hesitant when it comes to open communications with parents. They share feelings and emotions with grandparents, godparents, aunts, and uncles before talking to siblings, mom, or dad. An end to the political season will not end the divisiveness people are experiencing. An end to the political season will not end discrimination, misperception, and fear. Eating their vegetables, doing their homework, and smiling when they are kissed goodnight doesn’t mean all is well.
As the holiday season approaches, “Set peace of mind as your highest goal and organize your life around it” (Brian Tracy).

As the holiday season approaches, “Set peace of mind as your highest goal and organize your life around it” (Brian Tracy). Improving Lives Counseling Services’ team of professional counselors and therapists use a screening and assessing approach in identifying the mental health and trauma-related needs of children, adolescents, and teens. Located throughout Tulsa and in surrounding towns and communities, we offer individual, couples, family, group, and video sessions. Live the life you were meant to live. Call us.