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How You Can Help Them Fight Their Fears

by Elizabeth Hilsley (follow)
Anxiety (4)      mental health (3)      worries (2)      Nightmares (2)      Wellbeing (2)      childhood anxiety (1)     
As parents, we become accustomed to the common childhood fears of each age and stage. Early on, separation anxiety is common. Many of us will remember the heartbreak of leaving a screaming, seemingly inconsolable toddler in the arms of a childcare worker. With school age come the classic terrors: Spiders, monsters, nightmares and The Dark. At the moment I知 trying to manage a fear of home intruders in human, vampire or zombie form; which I知 finding challenging.

Anxious Child
Image: Castillo Dominici, Freedigitalphotos.net

I have been disturbed by my daughter痴 fear, and worried it suggested she doubted my ability to protect her. A couple of visits to a Child Psychologist has helped, and I知 reassured that these anxieties can come from nowhere and have nothing to do with us as parents.

Whether a child痴 fear is small (bugs or the dark for example) or large ( such as burglars or public speaking at school) it is reassuring to have tools to help them. Armed with these tools, you can do something practical to help, and they all have the same goal: For your child to gain some control over the fear.

Anxious Child
Image: Stuart Miles, Freedigitalphotos.net

1) The Worry Box
This one is fun to create, and your child痴 involvement in the process Find a box a shoebox will do, and cut a slot in it. Have fun decorating, painting, and what have you, and, voila, your child has an Official Worry Box. Their worries and fears are written on pieces of paper by you or your child and 叢osted into the worry box, where they are trapped and neutralised.

2) Praise for Bravery
Simple positive reinforcement. Be sure to offer specific, verbal praise whenever your child acts fearlessly such as walking past a spider without freaking out, or going alone to the bathroom in the dark.

3) List of Helpful Thoughts
My personal favourite - a CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) style technique which is worth a little effort. Take a piece of paper, which your child can decorate and embellish as they wish, and tell them you are going to play 租etectives. Put your heads together, and look for 粗vidence to support, or challenge, your child痴 fear, and write a column for each. In our case, challenges to the fear of home intruders included that our doors and windows are locked and we have a home alarm. Support is usually harder to find which is all the better. The written evidence you prepare forms your child痴 list of helpful thoughts, and can be revisited when their anxiety is high. Particularly from the age of six onwards, this CBT approach can be remarkably reassuring.

anxiety in children
Look at the fear through their eyes. Image: Morguefile

Childhood anxiety can be frustrating for parents, when sometimes fears that seem trivial to us take on monumental proportions in the mind of a child. It brings relief all round when they begin to relax.

#childhood anxiety
#mental health
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