15 Tips to Help Children Tackle Their Fear

We all are very accustomed to the term fear and come across this word frequently in our day to day lives. But how exactly do we define fear?

Fear is a form of human emotion that surges when they perceive danger, irrespective of their chance of occurrence. Fear can show multiple symptoms that can be either physical or emotional or both. Fear can occur in all persons irrespective of their age and thus, children are no exception.

The only difference that may exist is the way adults can manage it and how children cannot. Let us throw light on some of the methods on how we can help children manage fear.

What are the ways to help children manage fear?

  • Talk to your child about what is making them afraid.
  • Try to encourage them to not be afraid of things that can not harm them in any way.
  • Do not pretend that you are not afraid of anything.
  • Tell them that it is natural to be afraid of genuine things.
  • Never say anything that can aggravate their fear.

Here are some methods on how we can help children manage fear.

Talk to your children about their fears

The first step that we all must take to help our children manage fear is by talking to them about the things that are making them afraid. We all must first know the reason behind the fear and then look forward to solving it properly.

Once you know the reason behind the fear, try to refute them. You need to show them that what they are thinking is not going to harm them in any way. But of course, the reason must be plausible enough to refute it. We should keep that in mind.

Never aggravate their fear

We often make mistakes that can be very harmful to our children. Our words and actions are some of the biggest contributors to this list. We must never say anything that can aggravate the fear in multiple folds and can worsen the scenario instead of improving it.

Always think twice about the effects of your words on your child. Decide whether it is the appropriate thing to say or not. If you think that your words are not going to increase your child’s fear, then only proceed to say those words.

Do not pretend that you are not afraid

We are trying to teach our kids to manage their fears but we should never try to pretend as if we are not afraid of anything. This will send a completely wrong impression to your child and the results may be worse and the situation may deteriorate.

Instead, try to explain that they should not be afraid of things that are not harmful to them. Try to validate your reasons as strongly as possible so that they get convinced easily. This will ensure that they are not being afraid of the things bothering them.

Tell them being afraid is natural

While we all are trying to help our children manage fear, we often make the mistake of telling them that it is silly or immature of being afraid. But is it really silly from their point of view? Of course, it is not! Never say any word that can make them feel inferior.

Being afraid is very natural and we all are afraid of one thing or the other. They are also not exceptions and their reasons might be silly to us, just like our reasons might be silly to them. So, tell them that it is natural to be afraid.

But do explain to them that they must try to overcome their fear because as long as you are with your child, their reasons cannot overpower you. This will significantly help them tackle fear.

Do not let your child deal with the fear alone

Parents often end up committing this mistake that they leave their children to deal with their fear on their own. This is completely wrong as the fear may get aggravated. We must always be there with our children to help them overcome their fears.

We should always be supportive and patient while they complain about the things that scare them. We should try to refute their reasons for being afraid and must tell them that they are not alone. We must make them feel that they will be untouched as long as their parents are with them.

Never ignore what they say

We often think that the fears of our children are silly because they are immature and they end up imagining unrealistic things. But have you ever looked into the details? They are likely afraid of someone’s behavior.

It is also possible that they remember any incident in the past and are afraid that the incident will occur again. Numerous things are possible. We should always look into the details and comfort them accordingly by explaining and supporting them.

Try to encourage them

Just as we mentioned earlier that we must not let them deal with their fears alone, we should also not be overly protective. This will never teach them to manage their fear. Instead, we must encourage them to learn to not be afraid.

We must keep in mind that as they grow, they will have to do things on their own. All you can do is to guide them. Thus, encourage them to overcome their fear. At the same time, try not to ignore their reasons as well.

Always be positive in front of your child

Children often imitate adults. Being an adult, we must always try to remain positive in front of the children. Whenever they see that the adults are remaining positive and hopeful and are not being afraid, they will try to imitate that act.

But never lie to your children since they often understand when things are not correct. Even if you are afraid, let it be expressed but always stay positive so that your children can learn by watching you. This is the best way to teach your child to manage fear.

Schedule relaxing activities

Relaxing activities have always helped manage fears. So, try to arrange relaxing activities for your children and take part in those activities as well. Once they are relaxed, they can think from different perspectives and will be able to motivate themselves.

Also, engaging in different activities will distract them from their fears. They will not be able to focus on the things that scare them. Hence, it is a good way to avoid being afraid. Thus, arrange for relaxing activity sessions.

Teach Self-Regulation

Self-regulation is the key to an intangible skill. The ability to treat our perceptions and behavior healthily is fundamentally self-regulation. That’s how we can talk to ourselves or feel things without acting on them. Without second thought most adults practice self-regulation. 

Think of feeling a moment of dread before you can rest assured that a dark room is nothing frightening. But for children it takes time, practice, and space to learn to build self-regulation — which means that parents are comfortable allowing children to become a bit uncomfortable as they figure out things.

Do not get impatient

Not knowing how to help can be difficult and frustrating for parents, but don’t let them demonstrate that feeling. Your kid will sense whatever you are feeling. Disclosing your feelings will make your child feel irritated, increase nervousness and make it harder for him to communicate. Try to provide an example of how your child should respond calmly to feel calmer.

Be Empathetic

Even when you feel stupid about what they fear, it is important to show that you care about your child’s feelings. While they may not even be afraid of anything, their feelings are very real. Showing empathy will make them feel comfortable and will also make them believe that you understand their situation. Give them the closure that they need and help them out instead of treating their fears as irrelevant.

Don’t get too involved

By advising your child exactly what to do, or in difficult and stressful circumstances, they can’t resolve their issues on their own or learn to cope. That doesn’t mean they never need help, but before lending a hand, you should let them try to solve a problem first.

Don’t Avoid Situations that scares your child

When children avoid situations that scare them or discomfort them consistently, their fears never disappear. Try to make it easier for anxious activities. You don’t want to wait too long at once and it would take you a while to overcome fear. 

For instance, if your child has a hard time playing with other children at school, set up a playdate in your house so that they can feel comfortable with a child before they are all surrounded by their playground friends. You can simplify their anxiety and prepare them for themselves once they are old by slowly helping them adapt.

Communicate with your kid

Children need to have the chance to say what they feel. Give them a moment to listen without criticizing or reducing their fears. The best time to discuss it is if you feel quiet so you can listen easily.

Help them build up their self-confidence

Work on activities to build self-confidence during daytime hours. Talk to your kid about fears and experiences at bedtime, for example. You should explore other ways of responding to or dealing with such fears that will make your child less afraid during the night.

Make sure your kid is having a sound sleep

Poor sleep can have an impact on mood and make controlling fears more difficult. Check for the proper amount of sleep for your toddler. Limit screen time as bedtime approaches and concentrate on silent, soothing tasks.

Make them feel safe

Reassure him or her that your child has trouble getting separated from you, so put your child back in his or her bed, not your own! Soft, but stiff, to get in bed. Ask again what’s wrong when your kid calls. Then tell your kid that everything is all right, that he or she is safe, that he or she will have no trouble and will sleep easily all night in their bed.

If your toddler is told to stay in his/her bed and everything is alright, it will show him/her that his/her bed is a good place for him/her to be and prevent him/her from leaving their bedroom.

Arrange for a night lamp if your kid is scared sleeping in the dark

It is also good for your children to snuggle with their favorite soft or safety blanket during the night to provide extra comfort and a sense of safety. If your toddler wants the light, keep the light in a dim environment or give it a night light. You still should leave the door open if the child is aware that walking away is not acceptable.

Important things to keep in mind

What instigates anxiety disorders such as fear?

No single cause of anxiety disorders exists. The development of an anxiety disorder is usually a function of the interaction between some risk factors specific to each individual’s biological and environmental. Genetics plays a key role in evaluating who, like a child’s temperament and inherent personality style, develops an anxiety disorder. 

For instance, studies show that children who are inherently careful, calm, and timid tend to have an anxiety disorder. Environmental risk factors, such as style parenting, blend genetic and temperament biological risk factors to make a child more or less susceptible to an anxiety disorder. 

Should we seek help from a therapist to help my child cope up with his fears?

Many different kinds of conduct care professionals can help your child manage fear and learn how to deal with it. Psychologists have doctorates and are well trained to help your child out. Doctoral graduates and training in mental health evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment are offered by Psychologists. 

Social workers, professional consultants with licenses, and family and marriage therapists have a therapeutic or counseling degree and training. Any therapist you think may have work experience with children and teenagers and use CBT to treat anxiety. CBT allows children to adjust their emotions and conduct and has been demonstrated to be effective.

How should I approach my child to seek help from a therapist?

It is important to normalize the experience of your child. Older children and youth may feel comfortable knowing that approximately one in five people in the U.S. are anxious. Therapy participation is therefore very frequent. Make sure your kid can learn how to decrease fear and feel better, just like their teacher or sports coach would teach him a new ability.

 Stress that he doesn’t do anything wrong and that you want to back him. Hearing that there is genuine hope of better feeling often contributes more to the self-esteem of a child than to prevent the problem.

How can I help my child to open up about his fears?

Some kids are ashamed or are scared of their parents that they will find their concerns stupid. They have to understand that fears are normal and that their concerns are relevant. You should talk about your worries, such as late work or no good work, or consider if your child has the same concerns. 

Or if he has friends or school, ask his friends what kind of stuff they care about. You may put this up in a non-judgmental tone at a later stage if you notice a situation where it appeared worried. Explain that you want him to feel happy and safe and that if he’s ready to tell you are here for him.

Should we seek medication if the situation aggravates?

Almost always before considering drugs, a CBT trial with a competent therapist should be completed. CBT is also just what children and adolescents have to deal with anxiety effectively and learn how to cope. Tell your pediatrician or behavioral health care provider if the symptoms are very weakening or getting worse. You may be asked to consult a teenage psychiatrist, but some pediatricians themselves prescribe anxiety medications.

Verdict

So, these are some of the most effective ways in which you can help your children manage fear. As we mentioned at the beginning that fear is an emotion, it can be controlled but never avoided. So, never try to teach your kid to not be afraid of anything.

But before trying to manage the fears of your children, always look into the details of what is bothering them. It may turn out to be something serious and not a mere childish thing. But even after following the mentioned tips, your child is unable to manage fear, consult a psychiatrist.

You may also consult a child psychologist and arrange some counseling sessions for your child. This may be extremely beneficial for your child to learn how to manage his or her fear.

Frequently Asked Questions

Shall we always try to find out the reasons behind our child being afraid?

It is always suggested to do so. This is because once you know the reason you will be able to explain your child in a better way.

Shall we ask our children about their fears?

Of course. But never nudge your child to think of anything that makes them afraid even if they aren’t genuinely afraid.

Shall we always listen to our child’s complaints of him being afraid?

Yes. You should always be ready to listen to your child’s complaints about the things that make him afraid. 

Is it necessary to show that we are supportive? Or will it aggravate his fear?

Since they are children, they often fail to understand parental care and support. Hence, you need to show that you are supportive enough so that they can fight the things that scare him.

How beneficial are the relaxing activities and how often shall we organize such sessions?

These are extremely beneficial as they will keep your child’s mind diverted from what makes him afraid. You can arrange them regularly if you find it beneficial and satisfactory. These will also help your child to manage stress and nervousness.

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