Each of us has dealt with and continues to deal with fears and anxieties on a daily basis. From a common initial fear of anyone other than mommy when we are infants to a fear of the boss in the workplace as adults, anxieties follow us throughout our development and are in fact part of our development. It is important to grow through the various phases of fear in adolescence to be able to handle anxiety as an adult. Below are methods parents can use to aid their children in learning how to deal with frightening situations.
When a child is afraid, there are tactics to use in order to help them grow through that fear rather than dismiss it. The first step is to acknowledge the child’s fear. No matter how ridiculous it may seem to you as an adult, the fear is very real for the child and should be viewed as a real thing. Do not belittle the fear by calling it ridiculous either. Belittling the fear may cause the subject to go away, but the anxiety does not go away for the child. Their feelings are real to them no matter how ridiculous they seem to you.
Though it is important to acknowledge the fear as real, it is also important not to cater to the fear. An example given by kidshealth.org states “If your child doesn’t like dogs, don’t cross the street deliberately to avoid one. This will just reinforce that dogs should be feared and avoided.” The site suggests gentleness and support when approaching the object of fear with your child.
The website also offers other advice on dealing with fear in children and can be accessed http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/anxiety.html . The commonality in all methods of managing fear is to acknowledge the fear without giving into it. Growing through adolescent fear will better enable the child to live a productive life into adulthood.
From monsters under the bed to public speaking, there are many anxiety causing passages for children to maneuver in adolescence. It is important for parents and guardians to help their children through these situations rather than protect children from their fears and avoid how to manage them.