Reality Check: When Kids Get Scared

Choice Theory and Reality Therapy has touched people all around the world. The pandemic has also touched people all over the world, mentally as well as physically. Understanding Choice Theory could be more helpful now than ever.
In Australia some years ago, psychologist and author Ivan Honey developed a helpful kit called Cars ‘R Us. Based on Choice Theory, it helps parents, teachers, and kids better understand themselves and others.
In Honey’s kit, human-looking cars illustrate human feelings, situations, and parts. We learn about choices, better understand how to make changes, and ultimately, become more empowered to help ourselves. It’s clever and it’s fun.
Honey recognizes that kids could be scared now. They are hearing all kinds of frightening things. They see that their parents are worried. They can’t go to school. Their lives are disrupted.
In light of that, Honey has made an e-book consistent with Cars ‘R Us available for free to everyone around the world. Called “Sid Gets Scared,” it’s a picture book designed for young children. It tells the story of a car named Sid who wakes up one morning feeling scared; not himself. Something is wrong, so off he goes to the garage.
There, Sid is hooked up to the diagnostic machine. It shows that he’s thinking scary thoughts. This thinking is causing Sid to worry, and his worry is preventing his engine from performing the way it was designed to perform.
The magical imaginary diagnostic machine also offers explanations and solutions! For example, “Worrying only makes me more frightened. It does not solve any problem.” That’s a message we may all know in our heads, but what do we do about it?
One suggestion, “I can prepare best for any problem by keeping myself clean, safe, fit and healthy.” That’s a pretty good suggestion for any of us, and it provides a course of action. It gives us something to do.
Another piece of info that pops up in the diagnostic machine is, “I am the boss of my brain!” I can choose to think calming thoughts rather than worrying thoughts. One of the suggested calm thoughts helpful for kids (or anyone) is, “I hear the bad thoughts and let them go, just like popping a balloon!”
Sid, now calmer, takes off driving round the track, having some fun.
A real diagnostic machine that clearly tells us what’s going on inside our heads, combined with a magic book that provide solutions, would be pretty handy, wouldn’t it? Choice Theory isn’t exactly that; however, it is a guide to what makes us tick.
In Sid’s story, Choice Theory is reflected in that our physiology (I don’t feel good) and feelings (I’m scared) can be changed by our thinking (I am the boss of my brain) and action (I can have fun driving round the track.)
Focusing on where we have more control (actions and thoughts) rather than concentrating on where we have limited direct control (feelings and physiology) can help, whether we’re kids or adults.
Regardless of age, one way to reduce worry is to engage in something enjoyable that absorbs your attention. Use your actions to direct your thoughts, which influence your feelings.
The “Sid Gets Scared” e-book is available at Honey’s website
He also offers some free “Happy at Home” activities for parents to do with kids.
The site promotes the Get Happier project, and of course promotes the sale of products such as a parenting guide to help people raise “positive and empowered kids.”
However, the Sid e-book is truly free.
Do you see kids who are scared by the ongoing situation? Or are they going with the flow?

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