Guest post contributed by Hannah Whittenly
As an adult, you may be well aware of how crippling fears can be. Some fears may prevent you from achieving great levels of success in life, from improving your health and well-being and more. If you have noticed signs of fear in your child for specific things, you may be wondering what steps you can take to help your child move beyond his or her fears and conquer anxiety.
Explain Rational Outcomes and Expectations
Some fears are rational, and they can even help to keep people safe from harm. For example, it may be normal to have some level of fear when you are standing on the edge of a building several stories off the ground. Other fears are irrational and unfounded. For these fears, discuss with your child what potential outcomes are. Set reasonable expectations, and even use the Internet to show your child videos related to their fear.
Choose the Right Care Providers
Many children are afraid of going to the doctor or to the dentist. Some find the environment to be intimidating and uncomfortable, and others may equate these spaces with pain. If this is your child’s fear, consider finding the right care providers to work with. Try to find a specialist that takes a compassionate and gentle approach when working with children who have anxiety. Patience and understanding in these situations can lead to the child feeling more comfortable in small increments. It would also be a good idea to find a doctor or dentist, like those at Silverado Family Dental, who have experience working with children. That way, they’ll know how to approach your child and he or she will be more comfortable in that situation.
Focus on Taking Baby Steps
Regardless of what your child is afraid of or anxious about, remember that it is not reasonable to expect to see a major improvement overnight. Think about taking baby steps with your child, such as taking him or her to the dentist for a consultation or meet-and-greet session. During this appointment, no treatment will be provided. At the next visit, the child may sit in the dental chair and take x-rays, but no additional treatment will be provided. Before each step, set expectations with your child so that he or she knows what may happen.
While these steps will be effective for many parents who are struggling with anxious or fearful children, they may not work for all situations or for all people. Therapy may be needed in some cases so that kids can work through their fears in a safe environment. Look for a therapist that has experience working with anxiety in children.
Helping kids overcome their fears now can set the stage for a more productive and enjoyable future. Regardless of what your child seems to be irrationally afraid of, you can apply many of these tips in different ways to your unique situation. By taking slow, steady steps forward, you may begin to see a great improvement in your child in the weeks and months to come.