Free Parenting Articles
Parenting: Turning Fearful Kids into Confident Children
By Jean Tracy, MSS
Parents, do your children love trying new things? Are they confident? Or do they hide under a blanket of fear?
Today we'll look at 5 common fears, a story, and a solution.
5 Common Fears
1. Kids fear failing so unless tasks are easy they give up.
2. Kids fear bugs so they jump and scream at the sight of them.
3. Kids fear they won't be liked so they avoid seeking out new friends.
4. Kids fear giving wrong answers in class so they keep quiet.
5. Kids fear what parents fear so they experience their parents' fears.
When kids are wrapped in a blanket of fear, like the boy in the story below, they need relief.
The Boy Who Feared Rejection
"Get up Kevin!" called his mom.
I can't go,' he thought. He pulled his covers tightly around his head.
"Kevin, get up now or you'll be late for your new school," shouted his mother.
Kevin sunk deeper under the covers. "I'm not going," he muttered.
Kevin remembered how the boys in his old school stuffed him in a locker. Tears filled his eyes as he remembered the names they called him shrimp, shorty, and pimpleton the simpleton.
I can't stand being short and ugly. I'm not smart and I'm not good at anything,' he let his tears fall.
When Your Child Is Afraid
Many kids like Kevin experience fear. Not all have pimples. Not all are short. Not all are weak. But all are scared. They fear being rejected, hurt, and they fear the unknown. Let's find out how you can help.
The Fear Solution Scale
Little or No Fear = 3-0
Concern = 4-7
Fear = 8-10
Try This Fear Solution On Yourself First
If you understand how the Fear Solution works on yourself, you'll be better able to teach your child.
One thing you need to know, anxiety is a pervasive sense of fear. It's always ready to take charge if you let it.
Fear can be of one thing, like giving a book report. But fear doesn't persist in wrapping you in a blanket of anxiety about every little thing.
Think of a time when you gave into fear or anxiety. Close your eyes and feel it in the 8-10 range. Then bring it down to the 4-7 range or lower. Take your time.
When you've lowered it, write down the thoughts you had that brought it down. Chances are those thoughts were reasonable. Your reasonable mind is powerful. So is your child's mind.
How Parents Help Kids Change Anxiety and Fear to Concern
When your child is in a good mood, teach him the Fear Solution by drawing the scale. Explain to him that he can use this special method to control his fear and become a confident person.
Ask him to clearly visualize a time when he was afraid. Tell him it must be in the 8-10 range. When he has it, tell him to close his eyes and bring it down to the 4-7 range or lower. Give him all the time he needs.
When he has brought it down to concern or lower, ask him how he did it. He may say, "I don't know." Ask him to guess. When he answers, let him know that feelings of fear come from the way we think. To change the fear we must change our thoughts.
Conclusion for the Fear Solution
A word of caution: If your child is more than fearful and has a strong tendency toward anxiety, realize that this is more difficult. After you've tried this method several times and still need some help, I suggest you have him evaluated by a trusted professional.
For most children the Fear Solution is an effective method. It teaches your child to feel the fear and bring it down to a reasonable range. If he consistently uses this method throughout his life, he'll be in control of his emotions, feel more comfortable throughout his life, and become a person others enjoy being around.
Congratulate yourself because you taught him to face life without unnecessary fear. You taught him to be brave and build character too.
Jean Tracy, MSS, publishes a FREE Parenting Newsletter. Subscribe and receive 80 fun activities to share with your children.
Pick up Jean's Thought-Stopping Kit and teach your child how to change any disturbing thought in step-by-step detail. This skill will help him throughout his life.