Beware of teaching your child to fear the world.. this is how you help him face life | Mirror

Beirut – It is normal for children to feel fear from an early age; They may be afraid of large animals, dark places and masks, and older children may worry about the death of a family member, or news of wars and much more that is going on in the world.

Parents play an important role in alleviating the child’s feelings of fear, and helping him to overcome this situation by planting positive thoughts, and to avoid the belief in the necessity of fear for the world.

Educational psychologist Hana Al-Rifai tells Al Jazeera Net that “some parents teach their children that the world is dangerous to be more careful and vigilant, but unfortunately these beliefs harm their health and do not bring them happiness and make them unsuccessful and dissatisfied not. with their lives, but rather prone to depression, sadness and anxiety Negative feelings lead to uncertainty and pessimism.

Al-Rifai indicated that “Children’s fear is of different types. Usually, before school age, fear of monsters or imaginary creatures such as zombies, while at school age it becomes more realistic, such as fear of illness, loss or death of loved ones, and even fear of waking up and not finding a parent at home.”

With the acceleration of dramatic events in the world such as wars and the Corona pandemic, some parents have made mistakes, including not taking into account the presence of their children in the same rooms from which television broadcasts news and the latest developments, which made them fully aware, according to Al-Rifai, of “frightening” events that their young minds might not accept.

Hana Al-Rifai: Some parents teach their children that the world is dangerous to be more careful and vigilant (Al-Jazeera)

Tips for dealing with children’s fear

Al-Rifai emphasizes that parents must embrace their children and control their feelings so that they feel safe and can overcome this problem calmly. She advises parents on the following:

  • Accept and understand the child’s fear, and do not pressure him to leave him at the same moment. Talking calmly to the scared child and making him feel safe is important.
  • It is possible to tell events that happened to the parents and that made them feel afraid, which makes the child more daring to overcome the matter and overcome the trauma.
  • Adults should not show fear in front of children so that negative feelings do not infiltrate them, rather they should show courage in front of them, even if they feel afraid because they are role models for their children.
  • Every mother is a role model for her child, therefore it is important to always show her courage in front of him in different situations, to get it from her and to be reassured, and to learn how to cope, not to give him constant anxiety not to cause. and fear
  • When making observations about her child’s concerns, the mother should choose a gentle approach. For example, do not tell him: “Your friend, younger brother or cousin is not afraid, do not be a coward, you are great!” And other negative phrases that will harm his psyche, but rather encourage him with positive words , such as “You are brave, you will be able to overcome your fear” and so on.
  • Parents should listen to their children to know their concerns, talk to them gently and take the time to calm them down and reassure them that they are safe, not forgetting to praise them often.
  • Respond to children’s reactions in a supportive way, explaining to them that their reactions are normal to an abnormal situation.
  • Helping children overcome their fears by expressing their feelings through drawing, acting, playing and crafts.

Al-Rifai stressed that parents should not transfer their fear and tension to their children, and that they should try to gradually remove fears from their hearts. If the child is afraid of sleeping in the dark, there is no objection to leaving a dim light and pampering him by playing with the lights. But if he is afraid of dogs, his parents can show him pictures of other children handling and playing with dogs, and gradually the child will be convinced on his own and the fear will leave him.

Al-Rifai explains that fear can arise through parents’ practice of punishment, so parents must be made aware of the importance of the child’s sense of security and reassurance in the first years of his life so that fear does not gradually overwhelm him.

Overcome fear and anxiety

For her part, Catherine Cresswell, professor of clinical psychology at the University of Oxford, in her book Helping Your Child with Fears and Worries, gives many tips for parents to reduce anxiety in their children, in particular:

  • Be a good listener: Be careful to listen to the child so that you can understand the reasons for his worries.
  • Help the child to realize that his or her fears are not real: You should start with simple steps that help the child understand his fears, encourage him to try new steps, teach him to build his confidence, and get him used to some aspect of uncertainty in accepting his life, and not rejecting the existence of this aspect at all. .
  • Avoid saying, “Don’t worry, it will never happen.” No matter what age a child belongs to, parents should not dismiss these concerns. The child simply needs to be told that what he fears will not happen, or that mere worry does not help to solve problems, but rather it is necessary to identify what he feels while feeling those fears. Do not try to organize life based on the child’s fears, and do not deprive him of the opportunity to deal with the situations he fears. He should not be forced to face what he fears, but the parents should support it little by little.
Larissa Masrani - Every mother is a role model for her child, therefore it is important to always show her courage in front of him in different situations, to get it from her and ensure it - (Pixels).
Every mother is a role model for her child, so it is important to show her courage in front of him to get it from her and reassure her (Pixels)

Help your children to see the good in the world

As for author Arthur Brooks, he discussed how to build a happy life in his report on The Atlantic. According to Brooks, if a parent has a major fear in life, it is more likely to happen to their children, as parents spend the equivalent of 37 hours a week worrying about their children, the most important concern being return safely from school.

Brooks confirms that there are studies and psychological research published in 2021 by The Journal of Positive Psychology on psychologists Jeremy DW Clifton and Peter Mendel, which showed that 53% of parents prefer the term “the world is dangerous” to their children saying in order to warn them to be more vigilant and aware that in this way they will be safe, but in fact they are unaware that it is dangerous and harmful to their health, happiness and success.

According to Brooks, Clifton and Mendel showed that people who had previously heard the phrase “the world is dangerous” were less healthy, more likely to be unhappy and depressed, and less satisfied with their lives.

“Teaching love to our children puts aside fear and replaces it with something dear that can be found in everyone we meet,” says Brooks. “Love is a good remedy to remove fear from our hearts.”

risk free world

Finally, All Pro Dad published a post titled “How to Have Brave Kids in a Perilous World?”, which opines that parents are skilled at teaching their children to fear things like strangers, animals, and clowns. Children are at risk, and it is the parents’ duty to help them overcome the dangers of the world well, so their desire is to protect them from danger by trying to create a world free of risks for them , but this world is based on two types:

  1. A world without dangers like a mirage.
  2. Eliminating risk means eliminating adventure.

But how do we teach our children to live without fear or anxiety?

  • Teach them that they are loved.
  • To give them an example of a meaningful and adventurous life in which a child faces challenges that suit him or her during a family vacation.
  • Teach children that failure is not fatal, but that you have to try again and tackle the difficult things and not give up.
  • Teach children how to handle money responsibly and generously, and help them make new and good friends.
  • The importance of your children sharing your experiences and stories, and also teaching them the importance of successes and failures.

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