How To Help Your Children Overcome Childhood Fears

In "Monsters Under the Bed," authors Steven and
Marianne Garber present this four-step demonstration
process for extreme or persistent fears. Say, for example,
that your son is afraid of the dark:

* [STEP 1] IMAGINATION. Use picture books, videos,
television programs and "make-believe" games and stories
to help your son create fear-reducing positive images. Tell
a story in which he wakes up in the middle of the night,
looks calmly around and goes back to sleep.

* [STEP 2] INFORMATION. Give your son helpful facts
appropriate to his age and specific fear. Educate him about
darkness. Watch sunrises and sunsets together. Use an
encyclopedia to study the eye.

* [STEP 3] OBSERVATION. Use modeling to help him
safely come in contact with his fears. For example, without
directly comparing your son to other children, let him
observe a child who goes to bed easily in the dark. Say,
"Look how the child falls asleep."

* [STEP 4] EXPOSURE. Slowly familiarize your son to
the darkness, using a set of graduated activities. Do as
many of these activities are your child needs in order to
overcome the fear.

It is crucial to set a comfortable pace and always stop the
activity if your child begins to experience substantial fear.

Tips courtesy of Magazine --

May be printed for personal and educational purposes only.
Copyright © 2005, Magazine, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Click to return to the tip