The Growing Parent: Helping Our Kids Cope with Fear

The Growing Parent: Helping Our Kids Cope with Fear
photo: Ben Francis, Creative Commons
photo: Ben Francis, Creative Commons

“I don’t understand why my daughter is afraid of that. I’ve tried everything I can think of, and I just end up being frustrated trying to help, which leaves us both more upset…”

Acceptance is one of the most prevalent unmet needs I’ve seen in my practice. At the root of many of the concerns I’ve worked with there is a lack of feeling accepted by significant individuals in their lives. This often leads to depression, self-esteem and confidence related concerns, eating disorders, marital discord, and even traumatic responses… just to name a few. Our children are no exception to this phenomenon.

A small word of acceptance can have a tremendous impact in someone’s life, particularly our children. A simple “Wow, I can see why that would make you feel that way…” can have an incredible effect on someone, particularly those we are closest to. Granted, we may not always understand why someone doesn’t like to sleep without a nightlight on, or gets anxious in certain crowds, but that doesn’t mean we can’t communicate it’s ok to be scared every now and again. Fear is a normal emotional response, and even the bravest of daddies has something he’s afraid of.

Embrace your child when she is anxious or afraid and let her know that it’s ok just to be scared sometimes.

Nick Hersey, LAMFT, LAPC



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