How do you deal with parents' fear

Tips for Parents: When Children Are Afraid

  • Avoid rational statements: Refrain from using sentences like “You don't need to be afraid”, “At your age you can't be afraid at all. . . ”,“ Aren't you ashamed to be afraid? ”Reasonable and logical explanations serve the parents rather than the child. Their good example alone may not be enough to dispel the child's fear.
  • Never ignore your child's fears: never use sentences like “there is nothing to fear” or “nothing happened”. When you bond with the child, you identify with them. In this way you can empathize with the urgency of his problem, even if everything seems rather banal to you at first. If you behave arrogantly towards the child, then it will only cause the child to turn away from their parents and educator inwardly, and you run the risk that they will not confide in you the next time.
  • Don't dramatize the situation: Don't use sentences like "Poor little one, how scared you must have been!" , “Come to your mom, she will comfort you”, “Dad will help you. . . ”. When you dramatize a situation, you are shaking up the emotional life of the child, who is already troubled. The positive effect of complicity is lost, and uncontrolled emotions build up in the child instead. Treat each child appropriately and address their individual needs without restriction.
  • Correctly accept and evaluate fears: First, you should alliance with the frightened child on an honest basis by empathizing with the problem and the child. If you can convey to your fearful child that you understand how disturbing fear is to them, you will create ideal conditions for them to come out of themselves. Paradoxical behavior can be a useful tool to help the child relieve tension. When you tell the child that you experienced exactly the same fears and that you resolved them in a certain way, you are showing them a possible way out of their grief.
  • Non-verbal signs of sympathy work better than numerous words of comfort. In this sense, a hug or a tender caress is better than a bunch of useless incantations.
  • Remember that small fears give way to greater fear: sometimes it is helpful to use fairy tales or stories to dispel the child's fears. Participation in a fearful story can make real fear seem insignificant to the child! I remember that when I was a child, I would sometimes go to my grandparents for a few days. They sent me to bed quite early, which was in a huge, poorly lit room. This room gave me insane fears: there were shadowy outlines of a monster on the wall, there was a terrible silence, the twilight obscured the possible presence of hidden intruders, etc. When I cried, my grandfather used to tell me the story of the “buffalo herder”. to tell who was a hideous, disgusting giant and terrified people at the mere thought. With a mighty blow, the giant devastated all the farmland and the forest. However, I never knew the end of this story, because whenever the buffalo herder blew and blew, I would “bvvvvvvvv. . . ”Fell into a relaxed sleep that took away all fear.


From: Evi Crotti; Alberto Magni: The hidden fears of children. Recognize fear and distress. Munich: Beust Verlag, 2002, p. 204.

With the kind permission of Beust Verlag

Created on August 21, 2002, last changed on February 16, 2010