Together with the child, his first emotions were born. An unfamiliar world full of new sensations: unusual, uncomfortable, frightening. From that moment on, fear is a constant companion of man throughout his entire journey. Not always pleasant, but at the same time vital: it is thanks to fear that a person instinctively shows caution and insight and chooses a behavioral strategy that protects his life from dangers. Aerobatics is to be able to be a friend of your demons and to know your fears, not to suppress them, but to accept and control them. How can parents teach their children this, says Victoria Shimanskaya, psychologist, and author of the Monsikov Academy’s Methodology for Developing Children’s Emotional Intelligence and Social Skills.
Where does fear come from?
If you open any psychological reference book, you will see that each childhood has its own standard for the number and types of fears. Living through them is a natural part of the growing process, fears quietly appear and disappear. Another thing is when fears remain in the psyche of the child and fill all his attention. Fear literally implicates the child, interferes with his development, communication with peers, learning and the normal life of children. Of course, the consequences of persistent fears are very unpleasant, you need to act decisively and start dealing with the causes. And the reasons, as a rule, are obvious and lie in the immediate environment of the child and his way of life.
In what atmosphere does a person grow?
What are the criteria for acceptable relationships in the family?
What are the methods of education used by parents?
The first and most important factor
Endless scandals and confrontation lead to the formation of an anxious and suspicious personality, in which any external inconvenience can develop into a deep fear for life. The words “If you go there the beast will attack you or I will call the beast” are said, of course, in jest, but how effective are such seemingly innocent intimidations. The child obeys submissively, but at the same time grows in constant fear of doing something wrong, feeling that the parents are ready to abandon him at any moment. Another option is when parents pass on their fears and anxieties to the child. Thanks to the parents, the child learns what is good and what is bad, what to be afraid of, and what will not harm. So be aware of your problems, the fear of insects should remain a personal “cockroach” for you, so as not to discourage your son or daughter from longing for natural sciences and learning new things.
The second factor
Another important factor in the formation of excessive fears is the parents’ lack of interest in the child’s environment. It seems to the parents that the child is still unable to understand the fears of the adult world, to understand the true meaning of discussing crime reports or news reports with him. Meanwhile, the child is picking up all the disturbing tones and moods of any information passing through his perceptual organs. It builds up and deposits in his subconscious, and sooner or later it “snaps out” with unexpected fears, like “Our house is going to explode” or “I’m not going to get in the car, what if we have an accident.” Therefore, it is necessary to strictly control all the media that your children handle. Fortunately, this task pays off – TVs and modern gadgets have the ability to limit the choice of channels and time spent on the web. And limiting the social circle of the child to positive thinking, calmness and optimism is the task of the parents.
5 techniques to overcome childhood fear
There are several effective ways to help children get rid of negative emotions.
Accept and understand
The child has the right to be afraid of anything, even if it does not meet the expectations of adults. All that needs to be done is to sincerely accept the child’s feelings and believe that he is really unbearably afraid at the moment, even if the cause of his fear is a little caterpillar on the sidewalk or a monster living in a dark corner of a field. The usual way to calm a child in the manner of “Well, what a crap, there is absolutely nothing to be afraid of!” It reduces his fear, breaks his trust in you, and leaves him alone with his fears. Let the child know that you understand how afraid he is of being around him in this moment in order to look the fear in your eyes together and come up with a way to defeat him. It would be nice, of course, if the child himself would suggest such a method of dialogue, and if not, then connect your imagination: you can make friends with the caterpillar – invite her to dinner with delicious dandelions, and to distract the monsters Buy a flashlight Live with your son or daughter under the pillow.
Hug and warm
Emotions not only live in our heads, but always respond with certain sensations in the body. From happiness, the cheekbones spasm and the heart ache, from anxiety we suck in the stomach with trembling hands, from sadness there is a lump in the throat. At the moment of fear, ask the child to show where his emotions live. Next, ask him to breathe evenly and ask him to imagine how the tense parts of the body calm down. Cuddle the baby, and make him feel physically how you protect him. Tactile contact is the most effective means we always have that can relieve emotional tension in a moment of fear and anxiety.
Create and imagine
The language of a child’s creativity is more eloquent than words. All those fears and emotions are reflected on paper, which often the child cannot even realize himself. Ask him to draw his fear, then transform the drawing together – add saviors who bravely fight fear, or add the child himself as a brave knight who defeated anxiety. Fear can also be depicted as a funny cute monster if you draw a funny face on it. These shifts will allow him to view his emotions from a different perspective and weaken the traumatic effect of fear.
Compose and read
Create a fairy tale about your son or daughter’s fears. The journey of imagination is not limited! The main character of the plot can be the child himself, who boldly fights the evil monster of fear and definitely defeats him or enters into a dialogue with him and becomes a friend. Another option is to add a magical character to the fairy tale that helps the child overcome any fears in his path – for example, Monsik the Fearless can be the hero of Monsik Academy books.
Read more books! Horror stories are useful because they give children the experience of overcoming fear. When reading, their imagination paints only those images that they are ready to deal with on their own, which cannot be said about watching horror films, where images of their characters can shock children for life.
Speak from heart to heart
Create an environment where the child feels that you are always on their side and that you can be trusted. Tell him that you were a little kid once and faced fears that you overcame them and became brave thanks to the experience. It is wonderful that the Pope, the embodiment of strength and courage, acted as such a narrator. You can even start a tradition – “An Evening of Father’s Secrets,” where the father shares inner victories, success stories and stories about how you can live in harmony with your passions with the children.
Don’t be afraid of your child’s fears. When he is anxious, he needs a calm adult by his side, who will create an atmosphere of safety and only his confidence and steadfastness will make it clear – together no fear is on the shoulder! Trusting relationships, paying attention to children’s concerns, and being involved in their lives is the best way to guard against any negative feelings.
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