Friday, January 20, 2017

How to help your child when they are afraid

We have all experienced childhood fears. May be you were afraid of the dark, perhaps it was the monster under the bed, or, it might have been something else, something a parent thought even more silly or irrational. Children are afraid of different things for different reasons; sometimes for no reason we can discern, but that doesn't change the fact that your child is having a very real experience.

While you might not be able to convince your child that they have nothing to fear, you can help them by using your ears. Or, more specifically, your E.A.R.S., a technique from Byrd and Warren's, Counseling and Children:

E.A.R.S. for Fears

Earnestly listen - Earnest and undivided listening is the first way to help a child deal with fear. Listen and ask open-ended questions (requires more than a yes-no answer) that encourage the child to talk further. Avoid drawing conclusions quickly, giving immediate advice or preaching to a child. The fear may seem vague, but it has caused the child great distress.

Accept the child’s story - be willing to see the situation through the child’s eyes. Don’t give “just do this” advice, or brush off the fear as silly or unnecessary. For a child acceptance, especially peer acceptance, is the lifeblood of social survival.

Reassure - Children need to know that parents will try to see the future as best they can, that they take what the child is going through seriously, and are not angry or confused but confident, as this will be an anchor point for the child.

Suggest - suggesting good solution options as in “what do you think would happen if you…” or “tell me what you have tried so far,” and “would you like to hear some ways you might think about handling this?” etc. Supporting the child as she tries (and fails) at some options is important to help them overcome fears. Support and consistent encouragement by key adults builds a child’s sense of worth. Yamamoto says, “The basic requirement for everybody, young or old, is to feel that he or she is worth something.”

So, the next time your child is afraid, try to use your E.A.R.S.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your comment.