I took Kane and Kenzi to a carnival last night at the school where his father and I graduated from. Kane was excited all day to go. When we got there and he saw the amount of people, he began to panic. He wouldn’t play any games, go in any bouncy houses or leave my side. He began to have a panic attack in the gym when he noticed a lady watching him have a tic. I tried to encourage him to look beyond all the people and have a good time, he tried but couldn’t do it. Watching him like that broke my heart!
Below are 8 Steps for Helping Your Child Overcome a Fear, by Kate Kelly of Understood.org:
Fears are a normal part of childhood—and so is learning to overcome them. But kids with learning and attention issues may have more fears than other kids do. They may worry about failing at school, about not fitting in with other kids, about what the future holds for them or about problems that relate to their specific issues.
Kids with learning and attention issues may also have more trouble overcoming their fears and need extra support to do it. But as a parent, there’s a lot you can do to help your child get past her fears. Here’s a step-by-step plan:
- Be a good listener. Ask your child to tell you exactly why they are afraid. Putting their emotions in words makes them more manageable.
- Take the fear seriously. Saying, “That’s silly” won’t convince your child the’ll get into college. But it may make them reluctant to open up.
- Don’t let your child just avoid what they fear. It may seem easier, but it just reinforces their fear and suggests they can’t master it.
- Send the message that they can overcome this fear. Tell them it’s OK to be afraid, but they’ll get through this and you’ll help.
- Ask your child what might help. Brainstorm ideas. If they are afraid of attending a party, perhaps they can go with a group of friends.
- Help your child take small steps. They might practice for a sleepover by spending a night in their sibling’s room or the living room.
- Make contingency plans. Brainstorm solutions: “If I get lost on the field trip, I’ll text my travel buddy. Or I’ll find a museum guard.”
- Let your child know you’re proud. When they face—and survive—something they feared, they’ll gain confidence that they can handle other fears, too.