Raising children unfortunately doesn’t come with a manual and many times they need you emotionally more than anything else you can provide. Helping them overcome fear can be one of the biggest challenges a parent has to tackle in their child’s life. The manner in which the parent addresses the issue can be the key factor in how quickly your child allows the fear to diminish.
A parent is a person that a child regards as “safe” in their perspective and it is their duty to protect their little ones and teach them what to be afraid of and what not. Communication is the key when helping your child overcome fear and the very first step is to understand what the exact fear is and why the emotions are so attached to it. Consult with your child compassionately and with an open mind when inquiring about their specific fear as it may appear trivial to you, but it obviously is rather serious for them. Be a great listener and allow them to explain it in detail before adding in your two cents, as one of the biggest complaint children have growing up is that their parents don’t listen to them.
Once you have defined what the fear is, begin to evaluate it with your child. When did they become fearful and why do they think that may be. Ask them open-ended questions to ensure they expose all the roots to their fear and also to encourage participation in the discussion. Any form of fear is psychological, in most cases with little ones or young adults it is outgrown but the more imperative lesson to be learned is that fear can be overcome no matter how big or small it is. For example, if your child is afraid of the dark, then explain to them that nothing changes when the lights are off, simplify their fear so they grasp the many reasons of why not to be afraid. If you permit your child to always feel comfortable being fearful when they are young it will become a difficult habit to break at a later age.
Many adults are fearful of various things and situations and virtually every individual has a fear of something at some point during their lives. Fears that are based on smaller things such as a child being afraid of the dentist or being afraid of scary movies are on the end of the spectrum, but for those children that have larger fears that perhaps even prevent them from engaging in routine activities, then you should consult with your family doctor or a counselor for any additional resources you may need helping them overcome fear. Regardless of what the fear may be, treat your child with respect and do not belittle them or make it appear foolish that they have this fear as it will leave an impact on your child for years to come that you weren’t compassionate with them during a time when they truly needed your help and support.