Here are tips on dealing with childhood fears
All children will face a fear as they are growing up. Some of those fears will be valid, and some less so. As parents it is our responsibility to guide a child and help them to understand a real fear (and how to deal with those) and a ‘made up’ fear – one that stems from their imagination, or a situation they have faced.
There are many different ways in which to deal with these fears, here are a few that we feel work well!
Here’s what you can do when dealing with fears
- Reassure: With patience and calm, make your child feel safe when they’re afraid, letting them know you understand their fear – even if you don’t share that fear!
- Avoid meltdown: ‘Prove’ to your child, within reason, by checking the area to show there is nothing that will harm them. Remember, things like chords and even shadows can trigger a child’s imagination. Remove the item or cause, or show her it can be handled and is nothing to be afraid of.
- Educate to familiarise: Use pictures in storybooks, soft toys and games that present ‘friendlier’ images of their fears, or online videos, stressing that while some fears are real, and should be avoided, there are many good things in this world. All this provides balance.
Don’t dismiss them… or their fear
Part of reassuring your child is letting them know that they, and their fears, are important tot you. it does not matter how illogical that fear may be to you, to your child it is real, important and scary. Getting them on your side, and helping them to see that you understand their fear, is the first step in helping them to overcome the fear.
Jonathan Myers is a psychologist, teacher and writer specialising in why we see monsters. His upcoming article Godzilla and a few friends – Oh you are so big and scary! appears early 2015 in The Psychologist, published by the British Psychological Society. Contact him at [email protected]