Helping Your Children Face Their Fears

At a theme park, my son refused to ride a certain ride. A ride that I know he would love. While we waited in line, tears kept coming to his eyes as his anxiety grew.

But he was not going to get out of it. I knew he would like it. I knew it wouldn’t be too scary. No amount of whining would get him out of it. Even if the ride happened to be too scary for him, giving in to his whining would do far more damage.

I sat next to him on the ride. He remained tense and fearful the whole time.

After we got off, he said: “Can we ride it again?”

And so we rode it again and he had even more fun the second time. Even more, he now had the confidence of facing his fear and conquering it. This will carry over to the next time he feels unsure about something.

We have to help our kids face their fears while they are in the controlled environment of our home. We do them no favors if we let them wallow in timidity.

It might be temporarily painful, for you and for them. But the gains are necessary. Remain beside them. Encourage them. Help them face their fears.

If you don’t nudge them out of the nest occasionally, they will never learn to fly on their own.

This doesn’t mean throwing them into a tiger’s den or tossing them into the deep end of the pool as the beginning of swimming lessons. Know their frame. Exercise wisdom.

They don’t yet know what they are capable of. It’s your job to show them. Gradually.

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