Are you Afraid of the Dark?
As parents, you may fear for your children’s future, finances, health, or a myriad of other things you see in the news everyday. Your children have fears too. Their anxiety may not come from the same sources as yours, but it is very real to them. A conversation about their fears will help them put many of them to rest. At the very least, as you allow your children to share their fears, without judgement or ridicule, you reinforce the security they have within their family.
What are you most afraid of?
Let them think through the question for a few minutes before you respond. Give each of your children a platform to expose their fears in a safe environment. Their perceptions are their realities, so no matter how silly their fears may be to you, reassure them that you care and that how they feel is important to you.
How do you respond when you are afraid?
Emotions are powerful. Appropriate responses can be encouraged. For example, if you are afraid of a spider on the dashboard of your car, you wouldn’t destroy the whole car. Your children need to learn that they can deal with their fears in a healthy way that will lead to overcoming them. After you give them time to share, be open about how you have dealt with some of your fears. Be careful not to share issues that are either too mature for them or that you have yet to resolve; there is no need to cause more anxiety at this time.
How would you like to overcome your fear?
The conversation that accompanies this question can be extremely beneficial is allowing them to explore their own resolution to their fears. Listen carefully and when they explain a really good idea be sure to let them know you are proud of them and that you want to help them overcome.
Some of our most terrifying fears as children, and even adults, shrink in magnitude with simple, caring conversation. In fact, as you recollect your own childhood fears, you can testify that most of them never happened. Always be ready to listen to your children, especially when they are fearful. When you become their safe haven, you help them not only overcome but to understand the importance of your loving family.