The Norman Transcript

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March 21, 2014

Guiding children’s emotional development

(Continued)

NORMAN —

The article then quotes a prominent psychologist as saying that anxious, frustrated, tense parents can adversely affect their children’s security. In turn, the children may develop various behavior problems. Mind you, many of the sorts of problems in question are today called “disorders” and children, not parents, are often medicated for them.

The same psychologist, a professor at Stanford University, went on to say that children should not be forbidden from playing war games. Rather, such play should be viewed as “natural outlets for emotional tensions.” It’s also a way, she said, of expressing a healthy rather than “morbid” interest in war. Today’s parents would do well to embrace the same common-sense view of their children’s imaginations.

In this regard, it is interesting to note that as adult anxiety over children playing “war” and “cops and robbers” has increased, along with prohibitions concerning such fanciful play, so has bullying.

Correlation does not prove cause, but this particular juxtaposition should make adults think twice about banning index-finger pistols and that sort of harmless stuff from their homes (and schools).

The article concludes with the ever-sensible Miss Langley saying that parent anxiety over the dangers of war is the “greatest danger to the emotional health of their children.”

Finally, she advises anxious mothers to be involved in a wider range of social and avocational activities. Amen to that for all mothers, anxious or not.

Family psychologist John Rosemond answers parents’ questions at parentguru.com.

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