Helping Your Child Face Their Fears
When it comes to children’s fears, the list can range from monsters to thunderstorms and everything in between.
“Really any fear is founded because it’s usually based in some form of reality,” says Dr. Jennifer Squires, a physician with Novant Health Elizabeth Pediatrics. “Kids also have vivid imaginations so they can certainly create fears, like monsters, but these are still very real for them.”
It’s important to acknowledge a child’s fear without reinforcing or escalating it. “Be sympathetic and validate that many children have fears,” says Squires. “Don’t tease or belittle your child’s fears, especially in front of their friends. Talk about ways the child is safe from the fear, then help them discover ways they can also address the worry—such as taking deep breaths or using their imaginations to turn a scary monster into a funny one.”
She adds, “Fear is a natural response to a sense of danger or being unsure. It’s important to accept a child’s fears as valid and support them when they’re upset.”