How do you help your older children with fears?
Most young children have common phobias, but often grow out of them. But what do you do with an older child who is still afraid of the dark, being alone, or other fears?
From the time our children were 3-4 yrs. old we had them memorize scripture. And the one they learned to help them with their fears was Joshua 1:9 "....Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."
I'm a "knowledge is power" kind of parent. I tell my daughter that it's ok to be afraid of things. Everyone is afraid of something. But it's not ok to let that fear control her. Then we do research on whatever the fear is to take some of the mystery out of it. (so far bees, spiders, ghosts and monsters) I have her practice visualizing her fear in a silly way (spider wearing a dress and a hat with a feather doing a jig) to ease the tension. I also taught her some relaxing breathing techniques. The combination really seems to work and she has become quite good at controlling her emotions, which benefits her in many other situations as well.
There is only one way to teach a child not to fear things. Bring the fear to the child. You mentioned the fear of the dark. I suggest locking your child in a dark room, or perhaps a dark chest to tackle claustrophobia as well, and do not release the child until the screaming and weeping has ceased.
Why are we mothers wracked with so much guilt? Is it just 'a Greek thing' as my friend and I were saying, or do all mothers experience it. I have heard it from many non-Greek mothers too... What do you do to deal with it?
I agree- talking it thru, looking at it in a humorous way, and validating the fear. Most of all, teaching them that "The only thing to fear, is fear itself"!
Just validate thier fears and talk it out with them. You could talk about your fears.
My daughter is 16 years old and still has night phobias. It may have something to do with her ADHD or being bi-polar, but being on Depakote has not alleviated the phobia, because it goes deeper than chemical imbalances. I have given her the option of keeping a light on, which is usually enough to empower her. Occasionally she wakes up and wants the tv on as well, so whatever she feels comfortable having in her control is what I allow. But I think that is the key, because kids can feel overwhelmed by the unknown.