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“Hands up, don’t shoot”

hands up dont shoot

“Hands up, don’t shoot” is on TV, on magazine covers, on the internet, in newspapers, on the streets of major cities, and on suburbia playgrounds. Professional sports teams and dozens of congressional staffers have used the gesture.  Photographers recently took photos of children on a school bus holding their hands up and chanting “hands up, don’t shoot”.  With demonstrators shutting down highways, obstructing access to businesses, and shutting down malls, our children, even our toddlers, can’t avoid it. Do they know what it means? Some do, but many don’t. Are they afraid? For many who have no reason to fear, the fear is real. Just as 9/11 seeped into the hearts and minds of our toddlers, adolescents and teens, “hands up, don’t shoot” is infiltrating the safest of our communities; responding with “no, you’re safe”, is often not the answer.

All kids have fears and some anxiety is expected, however, knowing if a child is worrying too much can be difficult. Today children, adolescents, and teens worry about themselves, their friends, and their families. Attempting to eliminate, manage, or avoid their worry when televisions are in waiting rooms, airports, retail stores, and post offices is close to impossible. Even home-schooled children are asking hard questions and, for most, simple answers, void real explanations, no longer work.  Every parent wants their child to feel safe and protected, yet even in the model home “how was your day?”, “how was school?”, and, “is there anything you want to talk about?” rarely leads to an open honest discussion.

If not diagnosed and treated, worry can trigger stress, health issues, depression, and substance abuse. When worries and concerns are openly shared and discussed, there is less chance of them taking hold and growing. Improving Lives Counseling Services can help. Our highly trained, certified staff serves a diverse cross section of Oklahoma communities. Sessions with an Improving Lives Counseling Services counselor or therapist in an individual, family, or group setting can secure or regain peace of mind for the entire family. “Hands up, don’t shoot” has spread worldwide – internationally by political demonstrators and by civilians in war zones. The time for the talk is now. Call us.