Whether it be a crippling fear of the dark or something as normal as water, when your child has an irrational fear that drives them to the brink of despair, it can both devastate and frustrate a parent to see their little one in such a state. It happens to each child so you need to be well-equipped to handle them and teach your child valuable lessons on how to cope with crippling anxiety. Here are some of the strategies we’ve found most efficient:
It might seem obvious but it can be quite hard to bite back a laugh or dismissive word or two if you see your child prancing around in fear due to a few ants or something as equally mundane. The fear is very real to them so the moment you dismiss it, you lose the ability to help them process the emotions they feel in a healthy manner. You’ll want to validate their fear first- show empathy. Then go on to show them how confident you are in the presence of this fear of theirs. It would do no good to just tell them that there’s nothing to be afraid of- show them.
We all know when that cloud of panic takes over, it’s quite hard to penetrate it. Your child might have an anxiety attack- his heart rate will increase, his breathing will become shallow and his hands, clammy- a physical response like hugging might help where verbal comfort cannot. It would also help to hold and rub your child’s hands to make them warm and stimulate circulation back into his limbs. Rocking movements can also be quite soothing.
Test Their Limits
The best way to help your child approach their fear is to find small ways to let them encounter it. He’ll be doing something he finds scary but not so much that he panics at the thought of doing it. So if you have a child afraid of water, you can start by encouraging them to rub water on their hands or their cheeks. If you find yourself stuck at this step and your child has a fear that disrupts her daily functioning, you might want to look into anxiety treatment Melbourne.
Show your child that their fear isn’t as bad as they think it is by unlocking their imagination. What better way to do so than by books or films! For example, a child scared of water could read a book on mermaids! Show them their fear could be something fun and exciting instead of something terrifying!
As your child slowly starts to grow out of their fear, don’t remind them of it! For example, you may say “Remember when you used to be scared of that!”. Why backtrack your progress, leave the past where it belongs and simply show your child how proud you are.
These are the best ways you can get your child to deal with an irrational fear. It will take a lot of hard work but eventually they’ll learn some pretty important skills on how to handle anxiety and stressful situations.