In today’s ever-changing world it’s necessary to support, educate, and empower our children to understand and cope with the volume of daily changes we experience. We also know that over time, negativity can have a significant impact on a child’s self-worth and overall wellbeing (feeling not good enough). These negative experiences can also affect family systems with added stressors and anxieties on top of any other issues a family might be going through. Whether the issues are direct or indirect, they can impact a child’s overall development, their education, and their Emotional Intelligence (EI). The stress for parents, if experienced for prolonged periods, can also impact children and their mental health in the way the parent copes with that stress. Over time, this can have a significant impact on children and their mental health.
Here are just a few examples of life experiences that can have a negative impact on children and family life:
- Changes in family status due to moving and starting again
- Relocating to a new country and therefore culture
- Fleeing from war or abuse
- Having a different religious faith to your neighbours
- Sudden or prolonged poverty
- Parental separation
- Loss: of someone close, of support from family and friends, of employment
- Domestic violence
- Bullying or harassment
- Mental health issues
- Physical impairment that impacts communication
- Different skin colour to the majority of people around you
- Living where the primary language isn’t your first language
- Wearing clothes that conflict with the societal norms that surround you
- Different customs
- Different beliefs and values
- Different family structures to your own, such as living with your extended family or not.
All of these examples demonstrate stressors on some level. Stress related to simply being different to the majority of people around you live or the impacts of trauma. Trauma from abuse, neglect, bullying or marginalisation. Trauma from an horrific single event versus complex or prolonged trauma.
We know that happy children and parents are more motivated and healthier. They see the world in a more positive and peaceful way versus those who face struggles that impact their perception of the world negatively due to their traumatic experiences.
Hug-a-Bug World aims to work with parents and carers of children to facilitate change by providing support to our children and families. Not only do we want to provide support through difficult times, but we also want to encourage the acceptance and celebration of difference. We appreciate how richly diverse our world is, and we are interested in UNIQUE journeys that are different from our own. Difference gives us new opportunity for learning. We hope to create a space that fosters a better understanding of all that is different. Let us embrace that difference together.
The layers of Hug-a-Bug World
First Layer: we encourage experiences with nature in mind to help build a better appreciation of our natural environments. Nature also represents growth and diversity in every bug, flower and tree. The meaning behind the character names in our books come from nature and positive personal attributes.
Second Layer: we come from a therapeutic perspective to help children relax and feel free to explore their thoughts, feelings and emotions. Creating safe opportunities to express can help to reduce unhealthy feelings children may have about themselves. We want children to open our books and see themselves in our characters and stories, to learn and engage with them freely. We also want children to feel that they are not alone.
Third Layer: we want to support parents and carers to help their child get the best out of the Hug-a-Bug books to enhance their development. Reading our books with a child provides quality time with a positive connection between parent/carer and child whilst they learn.
Fourth Layer: we provide resources that support children to reflect and interact at an age-appropriate level to help them express how they think and feel. As you observe them, you will learn how your child is beginning to see the world around them. These experiences can give parents/carers the opportunity to educate, share different perspectives and their own stories that the child can learn from.