You have many expectations as a parent. Some, you’ll know all about when you signed up for this whole family thing, but others are not obvious, and you might not think about them until they come screaming into your room at two AM and hiding under your covers. Kids will encounter phobias and fears, whether they’re rational or not. As a parent, you need to help them face, battle, and overcome these phobias, so what’s the best way to do this?
Validate Their Worries
The most important thing a parent can do when helping their child overcome their phobias is to listen rather than laugh. This sounds obvious, but so many parents will hear that their kid is scared of something innocuous like spoons or the fact the moon might explode at any minute (well, you never really know) that they won't take it seriously. However, this immediately invalidates your child’s feelings, and it will only make them feel worse. It also means they won’t come to you for help in the future because they are scared that you’ll laugh at them again, and that’s never what you want.
Create an Action Plan
The next way to help them overcome their fears is to work with them in creating an action plan. This is a process designed to help them face and eventually overcome their fears. If your kids are scared of the dark, tell them you’ll read a story with them and then turn the light off, which prepares them to deal with it. If your child fears the water because they are not a confident swimmer, finding local swim lessons can introduce them to the skills they need to feel better.
No matter how amazing of a parent you are, sometimes you aren’t as patient as you should be, especially if you don’t feel your kids are right to be scared of the dark or spiders or snakes or frogs or heights or indeed anything that you don’t think twice about. However, showing patience is essential for helping your child overcome their fears. So, even if you can deal with them without issue, you need to let your child build their confidence.
Understand That All Phobias Are Different
Of course, all phobias are slightly different, and this is also something you need to remember when helping them face their fears. Some phobias only require a quick exposure, like taking the plunge or handling a scary critter. Other phobias are more difficult to expose your kids to regularly (and we mean that in the least psychotic way possible). So, you’ll need to remember this and identify instances where the phobia could crop up to prepare your child for what could happen.
Fear Not, Little Ones
Overcoming fears and phobias are all part of growing up, and even if your kids don’t entirely get over their fears of creepy crawlies, they can at least know how to deal with them and not let the situation stress them out too much. But, they’ll only achieve this with your support, so even if you think their phobias are nothing to be scared of, you still need to help them.