Sunday, January 6, 2013

Dealing with Tragedy

Question: When you experienced problems/tragedy (death, difficult move, financial reversal), how did you help your kids successfully deal with it?

Thoughts:

Accept trials as part of life and set an example to your kids of not letting them become your focus. "If it isn’t a major issue to the parents it is not to the children....It is a tool of Satan to keep us upset and focused on our challenges and we don’t like to give him that power in our lives."

Set an example for your kids of continuing to move forward in spite of challenges.

Allow your kids to talk their feelings through with you - listen with empathy and expect them to resolve their issues.

Talk about the plan of salvation.

Treat kids with love and respect, but treat them normally. Don't go overboard because of a trial.

Answers:

Marsha (and Richard)
We experienced each of these things but it did not disrupt our family.  We just continued to do the things we did and accepted it as part of life.  I truly believe the children pick up their cues from their parents.  If it isn’t a major issue to the parents it is not to the children. We could love each other and live the gospel under any circumstances. Family and Church have always been our focus and that provided a strong foundation as other things would come and go.

One Christmas we were deep in financial challenges after a failed business.  It was a very simple Christmas, basically with needed clothing, etc. and simple gifts.  We didn’t say much of anything to the children, just enjoyed the Christmas season as usual.  Years later one said that they recognized that it was a sparse Christmas and wondered at the time. I believe since our emphasis was never on the things they received, it made it easier with the ups and downs.  We like to focus on what we do rather than what we get. There are many activities we can do together which are not expensive, especially by gathering with extended family or friends…always a treat.

We felt our financial concerns were ours. We went through some real challenges without our children ever realizing it at the time. Their lives were intact and with faith and prayer we were able to maintain a positive disposition as we worked it through.  We were busy with our children and church jobs and that continued to be our focus. In fact, it kept us occupied so we didn’t have much time to worry. It is a tool of Satan to keep us upset and focused on our challenges and we don’t like to give him that power in our lives.

Our children grew up simply and did their part to provide their own wants and some of their own needs. This was their expectation in a large family. They each did their part. They appreciated hand me down clothing and didn’t expect to have closets filled with a lot of variety.  I think because they didn’t have grand expectations, they were pleased with what they received on whatever level. I am not a shopper so we weren’t used to buying much anyway.

Again, as we lost grandparents, though it was a deep loss, it was a part of the plan and they understood the plan.  When they had challenges with friends or siblings we just let them talk it through and listened, expecting them to resolve issues in harmony with gospel principles.

I am grateful for the knowledge we both have that “things will work out” if we just stay the course and keep moving, exercising faith, praying for guidance, and doing what we feel prompted to do.  I hope we have taught our child that this is the path through trials.

Rachel (and Bennett)
We set an example to our kids of dealing with adversity through faith and trust in the Lord, and just continuing to go forward.  In these kinds of situations, example is the best teacher.  Also important is keeping the communication lines open so they feel confident in speaking about their feelings and concerns.  I have a scripture on the wall in our kitchen, "Be not afraid; just believe."

Kenneth and Catherine
These experiences are always a time to talk about the plan of salvation and to allow testimonies to grow.

Daniel and Marissa
Treat kids as you NORMALLY would.  When they survive the death of a parent, sibling, etc., they should be treated with love and respect.  Don't go overboard on it.

Cynthia (and Brad)
We did not have any tragic deaths when our children were small except my husband's father. But we had lived in Germany for three years and had just gotten back and were living in another state, and our oldest was only 10, so it did not affect them very much. I would say that my husband's career moves probably affected them the most, both good and bad.

Our oldest daughter had to sacrifice the most if I remember. She was in seventh grade and had just been elected cheerleader when this great job became available and we made the decision to move.We explained it as an exciting adventure. She graciously accepted her fate without complaint, but now and then she reminds us (with a smile) about her "sacrifice". But the seventeen years that covered middle school and  high school for all the kids was in a consistent place.I guess we didn't have much trauma in our lives so I don't have too much to add to this question.

Karen and Lance
Seems as though we haven't had that much trauma in our lives that we have had to deal with, when the children were home. Most of the things that happened were after they were out of the home and were big enough to deal with it on their own.

Next week's question:
It has been said that perhaps the biggest obstacle LDS Church members face in regular temple attendance is not lack of time, but lack of desire. How have you made attending a temple session an enriching experience each time?

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