With young children and sometimes some adults; fear is blinding and crippling. Often times the fear of something is so extreme that explaining what is feared is impossible. In parenting, I believe in giving my daughters the ability to not just confront their fear but to have power over it.
Buzz and Belly are terrified of bugs. Despite it being a bee, ant or butterfly, the fear is there and it is intense. Yesterday we were doing some cleaning and Buzz caught sight of a beetle. While I agree that beetles are one of the more unattractive of the bugs with their shell backs, beady eyes and creepy bug legs; I know that they are harmless. Buzz doesn’t agree with the last assessment.
She began screaming hysterically. The Head Crayon thought it was best to just tell her to get over it. The tears and hysterics only increased. While The Head Crayon was correct to tell her to let her fear go because there was nothing to be afraid of; it didn’t stop her fear or reaction to fear. Fathers are afflicted with the male syndrome of just stopping the issue at all costs. Mothers have the woman syndrome of analyzing, discussing, obsessing, exposing and discussing some more when faced with an issue.
There are two ways to conquer a fear. Facing it head on with knowledge or having power to control the thing that you fear. Since getting out the encyclopedia and researching insects with Buzz was out of the question, I chose to give her power.
I found an empty spray bottle and without her knowledge filled it with water. I then presented the bottle to her and proclaimed it to be “Bug Spray.” Buzz was now armed with a power over what she feared. The screams and tears stopped promptly as she began squirting her bug spray in the general direction of where she saw the beetle. Although the fear remained in a small form, she was able to control it and her reaction to the fear. Instead of being reactive, she was being proactive.
In what ways do you help your child with fear?
What are some ways that you have conquered fear in yourself?