Sunday, February 25, 2024 | Sha'ban 14, 1445 H
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Do not teach them to fear!


If you are a parent, your biggest fear in life is probably that something might happen to one of your children! This is a reality that all parents are aware of, as they spend many hours a week worrying about their children, especially the first concern of returning to school is related to their safety. Interestingly that makes sense if you believe safety is a foundation to be established before dealing with other concerns!

Here you notice that some parents mention that if you want children to be safe (and therefore happy), you must teach them that the world is dangerous and they will be more vigilant and careful. These beliefs indeed come with good intentions on the part of these parents but in reality, don’t you see with me that teaching them that the world is dangerous is detrimental to their health, happiness and success?

However, if I, the son or the child, think the world is dangerous, it will affect the way I see many other parts of my life, my relationships and my work. I would be more suspicious of other people’s motives, for example, and less likely to do things that might endanger me or my loved ones!

Indeed here, I am with parents with caution, but not entirely with people who hold negative primitives, is that the world and those around them are dangerous, because you may make children less healthy than their peers, often sad, and more prone to depression and less satisfied with their lives. Perhaps in the future, they will tend to hate their jobs and perform worse than their more positive counterparts.

Therefore, it is not entirely in the interest of the youth to instil in them such negative things. In doing so, we may harm them by making them less happy, less healthy and more intolerant of others. To break this pattern, parents and anyone who interacts with children should instead work to develop a sense of safety. Especially since some parents cultivate those negative thoughts because they hold such opinions themselves. Even many of them pass on their anxiety to their children. Therefore, parents should always assuage those fears by looking at the facts.

Moreover, adults may indeed want to teach young people how to stay safe in the face of threats. However, an overall attitude of fear can make them less able to do so. I would say here that if you want to give a warning to the child to make him better prepared, focus on one specific danger he might face and how to deal with it. Instead of saying (people will try to take advantage of you in general), say: If someone tries to make you do a bad job, avoid that person!

What I’m trying to get across here is simple, to be specific about the good behaviours we’ve seen and how the world or any community is safer today than it was in the past. Rather, the real belief is that most people are good and that things are generally better. Most important is also to avoid instilling a fear-based belief in children and to try to develop a positive core belief that can improve their lives.

In the end, instead of teaching our children to fear those around them, let’s teach them goodness and positivity, which neutralises fear and puts something good in its place. Let them know that people are made for good and love and surely we can find something good and lovable in every person we meet. If you want to give your children a base to live on, this is a safer bet.

Dr Yousuf Ali Al Mulla, a physician, medical innovator and a writer.

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