Helping Your Child in Overcoming Phobia
It can be difficult to watch your child experience fear and anxiety over something as seemingly innocuous as heights, spiders, or enclosed spaces. But this is the reality of living with a phobia. Knowing that your child is struggling and being powerless to help can be heartbreaking. Here are some tips on helping your child overcome their phobia.
Be Open & Understanding
It can be difficult to approach the subject with your child, but it is important to remain open and understanding. It is very common for children to experience anxiety and irrational fears, and it is important to make sure that your child knows that their feelings are valid. Make sure to show your child that you are there for them every step of the way.
Talk With Your Child
Have a discussion with your child about the phobia, and let them know that it’s ok to talk about it. Acknowledge that their fear is real and let them express it. Additionally, make sure to ask them how you can help. They may come up with ideas that you hadn’t considered.
Create a Plan to Overcome the Phobia
Working together with your child, begin to create a plan of action to tackle the fear. Here are some strategies:
- Awareness & Mindful Meditation: Acknowledge when situations arise that cause them anxiety and have your child practice mindful meditation to become more aware of their mental state. Encourage them to breath deeply and slowly when feeling anxious.
- Exposure Therapy: Slowly introduce your child to the source of their phobia with the intention of desensitizing them to it. Begin with simple exposure and work your way up.
- Find Coping Methods: Help your child find positive coping methods, such as positive self-talk or deep breathing, to help them face their fears.
- Seek Professional Help: If you feel like the situation is beyond your capabilities, seek help from a professional therapist. They will be able to help your child process and manage the fear in a safe and supportive environment.
Living with a phobia can be a frightening experience for your child, but you can help them overcome it. By remaining open and understanding, and working together to create a plan of action, you will both be better equipped to tackle the phobia.