In a recent survey commissioned by Coilspring games it was revealed that 50% of parents think that their children worry just as much as they did when they were younger. However worryingly more than a third of parents felt that their children worry more. 18% of parents said that their children do not share their worries at all.
The three most common worries given in the survey were nightmares, spiders and the dark. These traditional worries can be addressed by parents but what can be done to help those children who do not share their worries with their parents or friends. They may feel embarrassed or uncomfortable about discussing their worries. But we all know that keeping your worries to yourself can manifest into something further down the line.
An innovative German phenomenon called ‘Sorgenfresser’ which translated means ‘worry-eater’ may hold the answer for children and young people. This unique collection of plush friends has been designed to bridge the communication gap between children and their parents. This week has seen the UK launch of the ‘Sorgenfresser’ and to celebrate life size Sorgenfresser’s have been popping up around London.
If a child is worrying about something they can simply write or draw it on a piece of paper, then pop it into the Sorgenfresser’s mouth before zipping it away – out of sight, out of mind. The worry could be anything from a worry about school, a bad dream or about mum or dad, encouraging children to share their feelings with their Sorgenfresser. In the survey 64% of parents said they would like to be able to comfort their child, the Sorgenfresser is a great way to help them do so.
The survey of 230 parents was carried out between May 1st and May 8th 2013 on surveymonkey.co.uk. Some of the other findings from the survey included:
63% of parents used a teddy bear, comfort blanket or soft toy as a comforter (this is combined figures for teddy bear, blanket and ‘other’ – but think it sounds better than just saying 39% of parents used a teddy as a comforter)
33.7% of parents think their children worry more than they did (48% think they worry the same amount)
40% believe their child is afraid of the dark
Only 9.7% think their child is worried about family relations
37% of parents say their child ‘sometimes’ tells them when they are worried about something, 31% claim their child ‘always’ tells them
4% of parents said they used to worry about their physical appearance yet nearly 16% of them think that their children worry about theirs
8% of those asked use to be concerned about bullying but nearly 22% of them think that their children worry about bullying.
Commenting on the results of the survey Director of Coiledspring Games; the UK distributors of Sorgenfresser, Roger Martin said:
“As a parent myself I’m well aware of the benefits of encouraging my children to speak openly about their worries and problems. I also understand that, for whatever reason it can be difficult for children to speak to a parent or guardian. Sorgenfresser provide comfort and reassurance and encourage communication. A problem shared is a problem halved, and this is a great way to teach children just that.” (taken from press release)
Liat Hughes Joshi, author of Raising Children: The Primary Years (Pearson/ Prentice Hall Life) added:
“As well as the idea of the Sorgenfresser helping children by symbolically ‘eating’ their ideas, it’s an effective way for children to communicate anxieties. Many of us face occasions when we know something is worrying our children but they aren’t opening up and telling us what the problem is. It can happen no matter how close the parent-child relationship, and could be because a child is struggling to articulate things or perhaps is embarrassed or feels silly.”
She continued: “The Sorgenfresser concept is so clever, especially in the latter situation as it means a child can write their worry down in their own time (or draw it) and then pop it into its mouth. A parent can then go and retrieve it later and could even leave a little note back reassuring or helping their son or daughter. Even if a child decides they don’t want mum and dad seeing the notes, the symbolism of having their worries taken away is still powerful.” (taken from press release)
Sorgenfresser’s are available to buy from Amazon.co.uk or from www.thetoadstool.co.uk and have a rrp of £25.