I wrote about fear in this blog a while ago, and I have noticed that that post has continued to draw many comments and readers to this day. This made me think more about ways for us moms to help our children deal with fear, overcome it, and feel more confident. Here are my additional thoughts:
First, when I think of fear and when I am frightened, I like to remember the quote of the late President FDR who said, in his first inaugural address to the nation: "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." This is so true. After all, the feeling of fear does nothing for us. It does nothing to help us solve whatever issue we are dealing with; and nothing to stop the fearful events from happening. Fear is a primal, natural human emotion which, when we let it, greatly stunts us, deters all happiness, and crushes our confidence. Helping our daughters understand the nature fear, and become aware of where it comes from and what it does, is an important first step to learning how to deal with it better.
Dealing with fear means overcoming it, and there are many ways you can help your daughters do this. A good starting point is to give your kids the tools they need to calm their own bodies and minds when they feel fear taking over. Fear can make a person shake, their heart pound, their body sweat, their head swirl. Taking deep, deep breaths, even just 5 of them, is a quick, easy way to stop many of these physiological changes and reverse them by bringing oxygen back through their body and brain, slowing their heart rate a bit, and making their minds focus on something good and calm (breathing) instead of staying only focused on fear. Aside from breathing, a person can use a happy image, color, thought or saying and conjure it in their mind when they need a moment of calm, and joy, to counterbalance overwhelming feelings of fear.
Roll-play or practice is another great way to help a kid deal with and even avoid feeling fear, before it happens. If your child is anxious about a big test, for instance, encouraging them to study and do practice tests will help them feel better prepared, more familiar with the test and topic, more self-confident, and less nervous the day of the test. Similarly, roll-playing with your daughters how to talk back to a bully, or handle an interview, and communicate calmly and firmly in a difficult situation, will help them feel better prepared and much more confident when they are faced with those potentially scary scenarios alone.
How do you help your daughters overcome fear, and regain confidence?