As parents, we all dream that our children would be carefree, but the truth is that life is unpredictable. It is natural to be afraid, and when a tragedy or trauma strikes the family, the children are also affected. I would like to discuss here some ways in which you can help to manage fears and worries in your children. They do work!
Encourage sharing of worries
It is your duty to encourage your kid to speak out openly about his fears. This is because when any fear or worry is expressed in words, it becomes all the more convenient to handle. Your aim should be to grasp your child’s worries before they assume the form of full-fledged fears. Once your child is confident that you will listen to his fears, you will not only be able to reassure your child but can also answer questions and clarify misconceptions, if any.
I was going through some studies which strikingly reveal that mothers are more comfortable regarding sharing thoughts and feelings with daughters rather than sons. Although this might seem natural, I would suggest mothers to be more open with their sons, as they are with daughters.
Another great thing to do is talk about the feelings and thoughts as a family, since it helps kids open up more rapidly and naturally.
Render calm support
You must help your child develop the feeling that he is safe. Moreover, you should never ever undermine the power that your words have. On confronting a particular fear, if your child hears comforting words such as “Don’t worry, everything will be okay” from you, it will give him an increased feeling of security.
In fact, your supporting words at trying times will gradually turn into a model which your child can himself use when any such situation arises. Remember, how we react in the face of fears is what our kids copy. So, try to manage your worries in a manner which you would wish your child to copy.
Again, it is very important on your part to keep yourself strong, especially when a tragedy strikes or when you undergo any trauma.
Practice relaxation techniques
If your child has the tendency to become tensed out of fear you can try out relaxation strategies to help him. Take any of the following techniques, and practice the same with your child, until it becomes more or less automatic. Putting a reminder in the form of an image in your child’s bedroom or on the fridge can also help.
- The moment your child starts feeling tense, ask him to imagine that he is coolly lying on a beach or floating calmly over a cloud.
- You may ask him to take slow deep breaths because that helps to bring down the anxiety.
- Encourage your child to think that his lungs are like fully filled balloons and then ask him to let the air out gradually as he imagines his fear going away.
- Let your kid listen to some soothing relaxing music.
Comfort with a hug
When we see our kids troubled or afraid, as parents it is our natural instinct to comfort our kids by hugging them. According to researchers, this is an absolutely right instinct! Hugs calm down your children and bring down their worries. Actions such as back rubs and massage also help to emotionally soothe your children in the face of a trauma. Teach your kid to frankly say “I require a hug”!
Train your kid to know what he can expect
Some fears exist from which we are not capable of protecting our children. These fears must be accepted and endured. If you are able to help your child learn about the event, it will help to do away with misconception and also enhance security.
For example, if your kid is worried about his safety at school, talk to him about the school safety plan. Help him understand that the teachers and the principal are trained to help the children in case of an emergency. You may even show to him the locks present on the doors of the school for security purpose. Also explain to him how the fire department, police, doctors and other professionals are trained to cope with emergency situations.