Sunday, March 30, 2008

How to help your child deal with fears

Fear and anxiety is something that everyone experiences at all ages. The feeling is particularly uncomfortable especially amongst children. However some research shows that with children, such feelings are normal and necessary. This is mainly because experiencing and dealing with fears and anxieties can prepare children to handle the challenging situations of life.

As a parent, I have seen that the nature of anxieties and fears change as children grow and develop: As an infant my baby experienced stranger anxiety and clung to me when confronted by people she did not recognize. When she became a toddler, that is around 10 to 18 months, she experienced anxiety, when I would leave the house or her dad would go to office. Today, my four year old daughter feels scared of monsters and ghosts.

Making your child feel safe and secure is extremely important to make them cope with their fears. Children often fear a specific object or situation after having an unpleasant experience. Sleep with them before they go to bed. Tell them stories that do not involve any ghosts or demons. Some signs that a child may be anxious about something may include nervousness, nail biting, nausea, stomach aches etc. The key is to identify the object or the situation they fear and them replacing or removing that object completely. For example, many people fear darkness. Keeping a small night lamp on will surely help.

Talking to your child and knowing about his or her thought process is necessary to identify his fears. Be patient and calm to slowly eradicate all his fears.

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