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Helping Your Child Overcome Fears

Just about every child goes through a period of being afraid of something. When kids are really young, they might be afraid of things like monsters and the dark. When kids enter the tween years, their fears become more reality-based, and may include fears of something bad happening to them or a family member or friend. If your child is experiencing fears about something, know that it is a normal part of childhood and there are things you can do to help her work through those fears.

Addressing and Identifying Fears in Kids

To help your child tackle her fears, you will need to first determine from where her fears are coming from. Tweens may develop fears from watching the news and seeing bad things happen or hearing about bad things happening to others. A natural disaster or something that has happened to someone in the next town can provoke anxiety in your tween. It is important to help your child work through her fears so that they don't get in the way of her development.

Parenting tips for helping children overcome fears:

Sure, being afraid of something might be normal, but what do you do if your child's fears have taken over her life. Try some of the tips below to help guide you when helping your child overcome her fears.

  • Find out what it is that your child is fearful of and why. Sometimes just talking about it can help to reduce the fears. Be open to communicating with your child about the fears so that you can help to put them to rest.
  • Role play to help your child find ways to address her fears and work through them. Also, teach her to channel her fears into something like journaling. Sometimes, once fears are down on paper and out in the open, they don't seem like such a big deal.
  • Encourage your child to address her fears by using journals to communicate. Journaling is a way to express feelings that may be hard to talk about.
  • Pay close attention to your child's media influences. Perhaps her fears stem from a particular movie, show, or video game. If that is the case, replace it with something else.
  • Teach your child appropriate coping strategies to deal with fear. For example, if she is afraid to give a speech in front of the class, help her learn strategies that enable her to calm down, like breathing exercises.
  • Demonstrate the appropriate way to address fear. Kids usually watch their parents and do what they do.

A little bit of fear can be a good thing. Fear can keep a child from going with strangers, letting someone they don't know in the house, and avoid any number of harmful situations. Parents need to allow a little bit of healthy fear in kids, but never to the extent where the fear takes over the child's life. Chances are, as an adult, you balance fear all the time, so you can successfully help your child to do so as well!