Growth Mindset Series - FEARS
Updated: May 23, 2022
All parents have high hopes and dreams for their children. Raising intelligent and mindful humans who will have a happy and successful life is every mom and dad's goal.
It all starts with creating healthy habits as kids. And I don't mean just eating healthy and brushing your teeth before bed (those are important too) but planting the seeds of a growth mindset.
A growth mindset is how one handles challenges - the ability to deal with difficulties and improve oneself.
Today's topic is FEARS.
Do you remember your childhood fears and how real they were to you?
Fear of the darkness, a monster in the closet, the fright of sitting on the toilet; no matter how irrational and silly they might seem, children's fears are genuine.
Granted, those can be inconvenient and even annoying to us as adults, but any child's feeling has to be validated and respected. We often forget that we also have our fears, and if anything, the number of those multiplies as we age.
Each child comes with his own individuality – interests, dislikes, and fears. And same as adults, they want and need their opinions and feelings to be respected.
Let's look at some ways to address children's fears:
Have a conversation about your child's fears. Let him know that he can always talk to you about anything, and you are taking his feelings seriously. Be understanding and engaged in the conversation.
Find the cause. Try to understand where the fear comes from – is it from an experience or a perception of the subject of his worries.
Address the fear in the way it feels reasonable to your child without pressuring him. If your child dreads separation from you, start small – a short trip to the store without him. That way, he will know you will always be back – and if you bring a reward, even better. Make a plan together. Let your child be involved in the solution.
Be a role model (advice I often give). If your child observes you acting brave and calm in the face of something he perceived as scary, chances are he will realize that the situation isn’t s scary. Lead by example! Often, we don't realize that we imprint fears on our kids with our behavior. If a child sees his mom screaming at the sight of a cat, he will believe cats are to be feared. Those imprinted fears can turn into lifetime phobias.
Let some fears be. If your child’s fears don’t interfere with their life, you can let them be and wait for him to grow out of them. One good example is if your child is willing to go to sleep alone but fears the dark. A nightlight is an acceptable solution. If your child is willing to accept and live with his fears maybe you should too. Never push your child to face his fears when he is not willing or ready. The situation can always get worse and leave more lasting damage.
Like us, children need to unwind before going to bed unless you want them tossing and turning all night restlessly in YOUR bed. Turn off the source of their stress and fears long before bedtime. Nowadays, a lot of kids are affected by the news. Turning off the TV or switching to a family-friendly channel is a good idea.
Reading books on the subject of your child’s fears is a good solution. Children identify with the characters in books and can learn how to overcome their fears when given an appropriate and easily understood example – something children’s stories provide.