For over a year now we’ve been put to the test. Just when we thought that we’d passed the Covid test with flying colors (here in Israel at least), and that it was all behind us, a new test popped up. Never a dull moment…
Here in Israel, we are going through stressful times; missiles falling, rioting, and attacks on innocent civilians. Naturally, in a nation where everyone is knowledgeable (and sometimes even knows it all!), advice on how to cope abounds. Most of the advice is quite sensible and if applied properly could be effective in alleviating the anxiety and tension that so many of us are feeling.
Some of the advice being dispensed nowadays:
- Stay calm.
- Accept that there are things not in your control. That is liberating! (and most helpful for accomplishing #1).
- Focus on helping others; that will not only deflect the tension that is engulfing you but it will minimize your dependence on others and empower you.
- Take a deep breath when you feel overwhelmed.
- Humor. There is almost no situation that doesn’t have a humoristic angle.
- Look for what’s positive (this can be combined with suggestion #5). Focusing on the positive minimizes the negative.
- Don’t feel undermined or weakened, i.e. maintain confidence in our G-d -given right to the Land of Israel.
- Keep The ‘big picture’ in mind. As bleak as reality may seem, try to adapt a long-term perspective of things. Remember that as daunting as it looks now, the Jewish nation has prevailed through much worse and please G-d will overcome this as well. Jews proclaim on a daily basis that they believe that the redemption will transpire, trusting in the Almighty to determine the exact timing.
These are trying times particularly for parents who are dealing with their own stress as well as their children’s long and short-term reactions. It seems that the above recommendations could serve them well.
Here’s the good news for parents! You can ‘cut and save’ these suggestions for ‘quiet’ times, when the only challenge you have is the daily child-raising issues. Parenting isn’t a war, but sometimes parents do feel ‘battle fatigue’, defeated, or overwhelmed. That’s where the above advice can be quite useful. Let’s take it one at a time, this time re the dynamics with your children:
- Staying calm. No need to expound on that…
- You cannot control your child’s behavior. You can choose how you react to it especially when you choose not to let the behavior control you. Useful for accomplishing #1.
- Changing focus: Not keeping the child in center stage encourages him/her to connect, cooperate and contribute to the family and society in general. That is certainly empowering!
- Take a deep breath when you feel overwhelmed. Even when not overwhelmed it’s a good idea.
- Humor. Kids can really be funny after you’ve taken that deep breath. Enjoy the show!
- Focus on the positive. There is no child that doesn’t have good attributes. Concentrate on just that for even a few days and see what can happen.
- Believe in yourself and that you have a G-d -given role that you are perfectly capable of filling. Confidence and guilt don’t go together. It’s one or the other. You know what to choose.
- Keep the big picture in mind. Believing and trusting in the child’s redeeming (albeit sometimes hidden) qualities will enable you to see beyond the daily tensions and altercations. That’s redeeming for the child as well as the parent!
In the hope of calm times, serenity and security to the people of Israel.