You and your family drive out to the countryside on a Sunday evening. You are walking on a hill on a beautiful sunny day. You come across a field of straw being baled. You sit together on one of the bales and take photographs as a memory of a beautiful walk.
You then continue on for 20 minutes. Just before you go into the woods, one of the parents realise that they have the lost the car and house keys. You work out that they have probably been left on one of the bales. You carry on the rest of the walk: aware that the keys are missing but it does not spoil the walk. You return to the field to the farmer loading the bales onto his tractor. The keys are where they were left on the next row of bales to be picked up! Is this stupid, negligent or confident?
Does this scenario create family anxiety?
Depending on your view will give you some idea of what kind of family you were brought up in.
Some common scenarios might be that your family –
1. Carry on leisurely to the last part of the walk through the wood
2. Walk through the wood fretting about whether the keys will still be there on your return.
3. Run back in a panic to find the keys as quickly as possible
Which option would your family chose? Another way of putting it would be how does your family deal with stress? The way families deal with stress is mainly to do with how the parents deal with stress. Or how much confidence they have to deal with stress. Some families create stress to survive: other families try to control the world around them to avoid stress.
Stress creates anxiety. An energy which indicates something is wrong with an amount of energy to put it right. When we do not know how to put it right we remain anxious so have to create a strategy. Withdraw, fight, or run away.
Children who are accepted in a family feel comfortable. If their views are respected and heard this creates a confidence and self-respect that can be held onto inside the child. When the child is stressed that confidence and innate self-respect can be used in the stressful situation.
Confidence puts the stress into context. The stress is not seen as general stress added to all others. It is calibrated and dealt with according to how stressful and what impact it has. How would you rate the scenario above? Keys are replaceable? You want to test your luck? It is a Sunday evening and nobody is around? What one family finds stressful another does not? There is no easy answer or explanation.
Copyright Adrian Scott North London Counsellor Blog 2013
All rights reserved
Disclaimer: This weblog is the view of the writer and for general information only.
This article is designed to provoke argument and critique.