How to deal with childhood fears

Posted at 1:35 PM, Feb 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-22 15:35:13-05

Anastasia Pollock, LCMHC and clincal director from Life Stone Counselingtalked about childhood fears and best ways to deal with them.

To help with a child`s fear:

1. Validate that it`s okay to be afraid sometimes.

-Fear is a normal, healthy emotion. If we can help a child to understand fear, we can avoid them developing the all to common
'fear of fear' that can create problems with emotion regulation in adulthood.
-We can also teach to them how to listen to and respond to their fear in a healthy way.

-Don`t use words like 'silly, ridiculous or childish' in response to your child`s fears

2. Understand that to a child, even imaginary things (like monsters) feel very real.

-It can be helpful to make statements like 'Yes, that would be scary if there was a monster in your closet. Why don`t we check in out together?'

-Use this as an opportunity to have a conversation with your child about the healthiest way to express and cope with fears

3. Utilize the imagination to combat the fear

-This can include having tools such as 'Monster Spray' and having your child participate in the spraying of the 'Monster Spray' in monster prone areas (closets, under the bed, etc.)

-Use imagination to bring up a super hero or protector that can keep any monsters at bay

-Don`t go out of your way to help the child avoid the fear. Instead help them to face it with your help and support so they learn how to deal with other fears through life.

4. Be available to your child and understand that addressing fears takes time and reassurance.
-Most kids will outgrow their childhood fears.

-Properly addressing childhood fears is an opportunity to cultivate a relationship between parent and child that builds on trust and validation. This will last a lifetime.

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