- Top Tips For Parents
Issue #3 September 2, 2005
'Always Another Chance!' is published by Frank McGinty for
opt-in subscribers only.
In This Edition
1. Editorial: My Deepset Sympathy . . .
2. Feature Article: Natural Disasters: Help Your Kid Cope
With The Anxiety
3. Laugh It Off!
4. Think About It!
5. General & Unsubscribe Info
My deepest sympathy to all those whose lives have been
affected by Hurricane Katrina.
The images we have been getting here are horrifying, and the
full extent of the disaster is as yet unknown
I'm sure you'll join with me in saying our hearts and
prayers go out to those who have lost everything they own,
but especially to those who have lost family.
Natural disasters are bad enough, but don't you feel even
more sickened when at every low ebb in our history along
come those willing to exploit the situation?
After the South East Asia tsunami disaster, for example,
paedophile gangs moved in to kidnap homeless and destitute
In New Orleans we now see looters and mobsters, not helping
the situation, but out for all they can get.
Still, who am I to judge? Maybe the looters are responding
to what they see as years of oppression and unfair treatment
(not that their actions are justified), but it reminds me
that we still have a long way to go in our quest to create a
caring and just society.
Strangely enough, I am scheduled to be in Austin, Texas, at
the end of this month. This will be my first time in that
part of America, and my wife and I were planning to fly down
to New Orleans for a visit during our stay.
I've always been fascinated by images of the old French
Quarter and Bourbon St, and I'm a keen fan of jazz and the
Blues. Our plans were well advanced, but now it's a case of
wait and see.
The Louisiana authorities may be keen for tourism to
continue, as the revenue may help offset the disaster. On
the other hand, they may still be unable to cope in October
and there may be serious health issues.
I'll keep you posted, but if we make it I'll bring back lots
of pictures and interviews with parents.
We all have our own favourite charities, but one that is at
the forefront right now is the American Red Cross. Their
website is at http://www.redcross.org/
For our Feature Article today I've chosen one that I wrote a
few weeks ago, but I feel it may be relevant to parents in
the wake of Katrina. It's about helping our kids respond in
a healthy way to natural disasters.
Here in Scotland parents are still in a state of shock over
the murder of twelve year old Rory.
If you want to read more on this visit my blog at
Well, that's it for now. Sorry this edition is on the
But in life, as in parenting, it's important to face up to
and acknowledge the reality of our situation - and the last
few weeks have been anything but pleasant in global terms,
Maybe next time there will be some good news!
My very best wishes,
2. Feature Article
Natural Disasters - Help Your Child Cope With The Anxiety
(c) Frank McGinty - All Rights Reserved
How on earth can you help your family cope with the anxiety
and fear that natural disasters strike into the heart of
In early 2005, for example, the world was rocked by the
tsunami in South East Asia that killed thousands and left
many homeless and orphaned.
Yet, at the Edinburgh International Festival recently I saw
a group of Sri Lankan children, all victims of this natural
disaster, perform a dance routine based on a play by
Their smiling faces and youthful exuberance left no one in
any doubt that these kids had not only survived, but had
been helped to grieve, move on, and live life to the full
It can be done.
But what of our own kids, who have not suffered the actual
experience of a disaster? They may nevertheless fall prey
to an insidious and potentially devastating <B>trauma</B>.
This is unacknowledged fear or anxiety, and many parents may
be unaware that it's happening to their own kids under their
I say unacknowledged anxiety because often children
themselves don't recognise it for what it is. And that's
when real trouble starts!
Often our kids witness disasters on TV. If they're shocked
or horrified, and are reluctant to talk about their
response, the fear can become repressed. It then manifests
in 'side effects' such as physical ailments, school
relationship difficulties, or loss of confidence.
So what can parents do to help?
First of all we must realise that kids take in more than we
think they do.
For example, when the AIDS crisis was preoccupying every
radio and TV station in the western world it never dawned on
my wife and I that our young kids would even think about it.
We thought they were too wrapped up in Star Wars or
The Care Bears or whatever the current fads were.
We noticed that one of our sons was becoming untypically
fretful and anxious, and wasn't sleeping well.
During a particularly bad episode one night, it all came
out. He didn't know what the AIDS crisis was, but it
terrified him! He was shaking uncontrollably, and thought we
were all going to die horrible deaths very soon.
We overcame this problem, and I've since learned that our
son's reaction was similar to that of many kids' when they
don't fully understand something - and we parents go about
our business in blissful ignorance!
So first of all, be aware that natural disasters, and even
human atrocities like terrorist events, can make a deep
impact on even very young children.
Bring the kids into the discussion. Avoid playing down the
reality of these events, and allow the kids to express their
feelings openly and frankly.
Having dealt with the horrors - and trust me, the kids will
feel better after talking about them! - concentrate on other
aspects of the subject.
First of all, make a frank assessment of the likelihood of
it happening to them.
If there's been an earthquake somewhere, and you live in an
area that's not likely to be affected by one, let them know.
If you do live in an earthquake zone, stress the procedures
to be followed in the event.
But also look for the GOOD springing from disasters or
accidents: people rally round; poor countries have their
debts written off; measures are taken (such as building sea
walls and early detectors) to ensure the disaster
doesn't happen again . . . And discuss ways the kids
themselves can help, like fund raising.
Most importantly, provide emotional support when fear
strikes. The awareness that there's a strong, warm,
comforting adult presence - a pillar of strength in their
lives - can work wonders.
To sum up: Be aware of the kids' reactions, talk out their
fears, look for ways to take helpful action, and provide the
emotional support your kids need.
Do this, and you can rest assured your kids will cope with
the news of disasters and atrocities, which in modern
life are all too inevitable.
If you want to develop your parenting skills and encourage
your kids to be all they can be, why not invest in my e-book?
THE P.E.A.C.E. FORMULA: SECRETS OF SUCCESSFUL PARENTING
More details on my web pages,
3. Laugh It Off!
And now, to help cheer us all up, but especially our
friends in the USA, here's a few musings written by a US
MURPHY'S LAWS FOR PARENTS
1. The tennis shoes you must replace today will go on sale
2. Leakproof thermos flasks will.
3. The chances of a piece of bread falling with the grape
jelly side down is directly proportional to the cost of the
4. The garbage truck will be two doors past your house when
the argument over whose day it is to take out the trash
5. The shirt your child must wear today will be the only one
that needs to be washed or mended.
6. Gym clothes left at school in lockers mildew at a faster
rate than other clothing.
7. The item your child lost, and must have for school within
the next ten seconds, will be found in the last place you
8. Sick children recover miraculously when the pediatrician
enters the treatment room.
9. Refrigerated items, used daily, will gravitate toward the
back of the refrigerator.
10. Your chances of being seen by someone you know
dramatically increase if you drive your child to school in
your robe and curlers.
4. Think About It!
This one is appropritate to today's theme, don't you think?
"Where there is great love, there are always miracles."
--- Willa Cather 1873
5. General & Unsubscribe Info
Always Another Chance! - Top Tips For Parents
© Copyright 2005, Frank McGinty, except where indicated otherwise. All rights reserved worldwide. All contents provided as is.
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