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Five tips on talking to your kids about their fears

Parenting - By Esther Muchene | May 23rd 2020 at 01:30:00 GMT +0300
Children aren’t immune to anxiety struggles and you should get in touch with a professional (Shutterstock)

It’s natural for children to have fears whether they’re real or made up. To be fair, many adults also have lots of fears that affect their lives. Clearly, this is a deep subject and as parents, you have to help your children overcome.

They’ll learn how to think critically about their fears and it also reduces the chances of developing full blown anxiety problems.

Before the fear develops into other mental problems and affect their behavior, you can do something about it. Here are some ways you can talk to your kids about their fears

  1. Talk to them about the source of their fears

Be patient when talking them to about it so that they can open up about their feelings. You might discover that they’re fearful of something because of what someone said at school, what they watched on TV or an experience they had.

You’ll also note whether their fears are real or imaginary and whether they’re actually already dealing with real anxiety issues, which is a deeper issue.

  1. Acknowledge their feelings

Acknowledging their fears will show them that you value their feelings. Be more compassionate and try to understand where they’re coming from even if what they’re scared of isn’t real.

Even in the adult world, there are many scary superstitions that people believe in so you shouldn’t make them feel crazy for believing what they do.

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Whether the fears are real or not, you shouldn’t tell them to ‘just ignore it’ or ‘move on’ because it’ll be counterproductive.

  1. Talk to them about your own fears

Fear is a very isolating emotion. It makes you feel like you’re the only one who’s freaking out over something and that you have a problem.

Because of this, your children might avoid opening up completely especially if they’ve been shamed about it before. They need to know that everybody has fears including you.

This is a huge step in their healing process because they come to understand that they’re just like everyone else. And if mom or dad can overcome their fears, so can they.

It’s natural for children to have fears (Shutterstock)
  1. Come up with solutions or coping mechanisms

Now that they know it’s okay to feel scared and that everybody deals with that sometimes, they’re more relaxed and open to embracing the solutions you have to offer.

If you don’t want them to watch certain cartoons anymore, politely tell them about your concerns.

You should also teach them how to do some breathing exercises or any other coping mechanisms you have in mind, whenever they’re feeling overwhelmed.

  1. Reassure them that everything will be okay

Start by reminding them of the courageous things they’ve done in the past. Show them that you’re proud of them for not crying at the dentist or the time they managed to be strong when the family pet died.

Those scenarios that seemed insignificant are actually what will help them rediscover their inner strength.

They also need to hear you say that everything will be okay because those reassuring words from a parent are very important.

Extra tips:

  • You should also encourage them through the word of God if you’re someone who’s religious. That will help them cope better when they know they’re always protected.
  • Another strategy is to bring in some humor to deflect their worries. Just a heads up though, if they’re in the middle of a panic attack, your main focus is reassuring them that they’re safe. It’s probably not a good time to joke about anything for now.
  • If those fears are starting to affect their lives, they could be dealing with anxiety already. Children aren’t immune to anxiety struggles and you should get in touch with a professional like a therapist for example, because they’re more equipped in handling anxiety disorders in children.
  • Pray for your children. Some things are deeper than we can even begin to understand.

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