The worries of our children

We often use the expression: “I feel as carefree as a child.” But children are not always carefree. In fact, children have many worries and one of them might be unanswered questions and fears about the Coronavirus.

At a time when parents are worrying about the many impacts this viral epidemic is having on their lives, their jobs and maybe even their health, children are listening and worrying too.

We often use the expression: "I feel as carefree as a child." But children are not always carefree. In fact, children have many worries and one of them might be unanswered questions and fears about the Coronavirus. At a time when parents are worrying about the many impacts this viral epidemic is having on their lives, their jobs and maybe...

According to legend, Guatemalan children tell one worry to each of their hand-made Worry Dolls, placing them under their pillow when going to bed at night. In the morning, the dolls have gifted them with wisdom and knowledge to eliminate their worries.

Children worry about their parents and siblings dying, their parents getting divorced, hurricanes destroying their homes, failing in school, bullies taunting them, and so much more.

I didn’t know about this Mayan legend and their worry dolls when I was a child. I was always afraid of being alone, losing my mom, making my dad mad and so many other things. I think the key to making the worry doll work was that it gave the children someone with whom to share their concerns.

Because we were a pastor’s family, we lived in a lot of different places. Our oldest daughter often worried about having to change schools. I tried to comfort her, but I couldn’t seem to say the right thing. Finally, in exasperation one day, she said, “Mom, I just need for you to tell me that everything is going to be all right.”

Remember the saying that children are to be seen and not heard? That is a myth. Children should be heard! Today, especially!

In many families, both parents have to work, or there is only one parent in the home. Sometimes it seems that there is no time to talk to the children. Child psychologists tell us that parents should make time to talk with their children to let them you know you are listening and remind them that you care.

When our youngest daughter died at 19 months old, our children had so many questions that we never even thought about. Our 5-year-old son was angry for a long time. We didn’t know what to do. He would not talk to us. Finally, my husband asked him to tell him what was worrying him. He told his dad that he was worried that his little sister wouldn’t have fried eggs for breakfast in heaven. Our youngest son wanted to know if he would die if he went to sleep and would he see her again.

We didn’t have all the answers; we had so many questions ourselves, and it was painful to answer their questions, but it helped us all to express our hurt and anger together. We found that telling our children the truth about death and other complicated things in life helped them deal with problems more realistically.

A parent can set aside time to talk with and listen to their children. The evening meal or bedtime is an excellent time to listen to what is worrying them. Or they can go for a walk or create a particular time to talk. When children see that the parent is interested, then they begin to say what is really on their minds. If they have no one to talk to, then the worry turns inward and becomes fear.

Children need to understand that reasonable fear helps maintain alertness. It makes them watch for things that are dangerous and harmful, but it has to be based on knowledge and reason. Devastating effects of a hurricane on the news are like a horror picture in the minds of children. Letting them express their fear and then developing a plan for bad weather with them makes them feel secure, as it will with whatever they are afraid of.

Children are often worried about failing a test, a grade, or the Assessment of Academic Skills test. One of my grandchildren told me that his teacher told him that failing did not mean he was not smart; it meant that maybe he had not studied. He will never forget that.

Children have worries. Worry dolls may be convenient to place under a pillow at night, but having a parent or someone to listen to them, hug them, and then tell them everything will be all right is what children really need.


Author's Image
Deana Landers
Author for Morningcoffeebeans.com

I have had many roles in life
Pastor’s Wife , Mom/Nana , Nurse/Health Educator, Writer , Christian Speaker
I can't remember a time when I wasn't writing stories, either in my head or in my journal.

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Story Comments

  1. I am so sorry for the loss of your baby. What a beautiful story. I lived for a short time next to Mayan descendants and never knew about it. I wish I would have a worry doll myself. You are a wonderful storyteller.

    • Deana Landers -

      Thank you, Loren. The Worry dolls are very interesting but when I was little I talked with the birds and then later found God and find him so many places now in my life. But if you need something to hold onto, I think that is what children do with their teddy bears or dolls. I look forward to hearing from you, Loren. Deana

  2. So sorry for your loss. You have great insight through your experiences.

    • Deana Landers -

      Thank you, Janet, for reading my stories and for sharing. Deana

  3. I am truly sorry for your loss, You are such a postive person and so full of wonderful advice. I am honored to know you. Maria

    • Deana Landers -

      Thank you very much for saying that, Maria. I'm enjoying being part of this group. And thank you so much for reading and sharing my stories. Deana

  4. Oh Deana, I'm so very sorry for the loss of your little one. I don't think there can be anything worse <3 And I just wanted to say thank you so much for how you always write from the heart. Worry Dolls sound like such a beautiful idea, especially in these trying times.

    • Deana Landers -

      Thank you, Michelle. I really do appreciate your encouraging post. I discovered the Worry Dolls when we lived in Texas. I thought it was sweet. The loss of our sweet girl changed our lives in so many ways. Deana

  5. Harriett Hitchcock -

    Deana, Your stories are so heartwarming and uplifting. I really look forward to your next story on the website and in the Smyth county news. Thank you for sharing your life with us.

    • Deana Landers -

      Thank you, Harriett for reading and sharing my stories. I feel so blessed to be able to write. I love you, my friend. Deana

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