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HOPE versus FEAR FOR YOUNG PEOPLE
With so much negativity invading our lives through the mainstream media and various screen time activities that dominate many people’s leisure hours, it is quite easy to become fearful of the future during these uncertain times. Young people are particularly susceptible to this fear, as they navigate their development of identity, their role in the world and the skills they can contribute in work and community spaces into the future. Young people only know what they have experienced in their short lives. Many have wisdom of understanding but, with limited perspectives about the future, it is difficult to have belief in positive outcomes.
Older people were fortunate to navigate childhood with far less media exposure. They had far greater family and community connections without a bombardment of world’s crisis. Lived experiences of societal ups and downs, and the witnessing of national and global recoveries, positions older members of the community to respond crisis such as bushfires, market crashes, and pandemics with a larger degree of faith and hope in governmental systems, albeit far from perfect.
So what can older people do to support younger people?
Dr Michael Carr-Gregg is one of Australia’s highest profile family psychologists and he has some helpful recommendations to help support young people through these times. His message is to not avoid talking about any crisis in fear of escalating anxiousness, but rather use fearful news or rumours to engage in calm, factual discussions about how people are working together, locally and all around the world, to ensure positive futures for all. Other recommendations from professionals are to; limit exposure to negative media and screen time, especially destructive games and ‘Reality TV’ that is far from real and create positive face to face interactions in family and community settings where age groups can interact positively to instil a sense of collaboration, optimism and reassurance, that society will once again recover.
An excellent free online training for young people and parents who struggle with worry and anxiety is ‘The BRAVE program’. A team of researchers from the University of Queensland, Griffith University and the University of Southern Queensland developed the program to support both young people and the adults supporting them. The link is here: https://brave4you.psy.uq.edu.au/