Everyone has fear and a person can have more than one fear:
– fear of height
– fear of strangers
– fear of public speaking
– fear of failure
– fear of humiliation
– fear of being judged
As we grow older, we either learn through the hard way or the easy way to overcome some of these fears. But for some, it turned into phobic reactions. It can be so bad that professional assistance is required. Sometimes it indirectly limits a person’s potential for doing something great. That is why parents should take note and help the children to develop the necessary skills and confidence to overcome their fears.
How do we pass on the skills and help them build the confidence and deal with fears? Here are 3 simple steps.
1. First and foremost, never belittle their fear!
Help them to tackle it by encouraging them to deal with baby steps. You can’t get rid of fear immediately or within a day or two. It takes time, therefore, do not dismiss their fear by belittling them. It causes more negative effects on children.
Smarties are afraid of foresty areas because they are always worrying about snakes, insects, exotic animals that may appear right in front of them. Once, we were in the forest area and it was so dense that gor gor totally freaked out and cried. We validated his feelings and we headed out of the forest.
2. Give them control
Allow them to manage their own fear by giving them control. Do not push!
Smarties may have tried out the flying fox but how about skydiving? Nah, we are not that extreme. We wanted to try them out a different skydiving experience which is the iFly Singapore. I showed him the pictures and videos on what it is about and how it actually looks like. Surprisingly, he agreed to it.
3. Praise when necessary
Praise your children when they take that little baby step to get out of that comfort zone. With the confidence being built slowly, they will definitely overcome their fears.
So we headed to iFly Singapore and when we were there and looking at the real thing, he wanted to back out. He felt the tension growing inside him. I praised him for taking this huge step in accepting this challenge himself. He felt comforted and decided to go all the way. After the “challenge”, he was so happy that he went through it and enjoyed every moment of it!
Be their role model
Best way to really learn how to overcome fear is to show them real examples. I told them those few incidents where I didn’t dare do certain things because I was so afraid. They remembered seeing me went through those fears and it gave them a little more confidence to move forward themselves.
Unfortunately, mei mei wasn’t meeting the minimum requirement. Hence, she couldn’t join gor gor for the experience. I would actually love to fly with gor gor (setting good role model, right?) but my back wasn’t in a good condition for that type of sport. So, you can imagine gor gor facing his fear all by himself and heading straight into that “tunnel”. He was absolutely super brave!
Do not push your children too hard and fast to overcome their fears. It takes a lot of baby steps. You have to be patient and empathetic towards them. Just imagine you are facing your own fear, you don’t just get it over within a day or two. You don’t get over it immediately so do not expect your children to do the same. Allow them to confront their own fears at their own pace.
Last but not least, answer whatever questions they have about their fear. Encourage them to ask questions and try as best as you can to solve them. If you can’t, search for the answer together. It helps to create the bond between you and your children and it also shows them that you are giving them your support.
Remember, allow them to take baby steps until they are confident to step out of that comfort zone.
Do you have other tips and tricks to help children to overcome their fears?
Do you find these tips useful?
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