Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



“Mommy, I’m Scared”

Sarah Chana Radcliffe M. Ed., C. Psych

Whether your children are worried about big things (terrorist attacks) or little things (mice), here are strategies to help them face their fears and cope when they’re in anxiety-producing situations.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Our children are afraid. They’re scared of new places and experiences. They’re afraid of lightning, dogs, and the dark. Kids fear tests and terrorism, reptiles and rejection — in fact, they’re afraid of a lot of the same things that we’re afraid of. Just like us, they feel anxious, worried, and sometimes panicked. Because children are younger and lack life experience, they tend to feel fear more frequently than adults do. That’s where parents are supposed to step in: Our job is to equip them with a fear-busting tool kit. Unfortunately, many parents themselves don’t know how to manage fears — they either avoid situations that trigger anxious feelings (“I don’t fly…”), take powerful anxiety-quelling medications, or simply live in a constant state of anxiety and emotional unrest. The result: Their children grow up without developing techniques to face and eliminate fears and worries. A recent national study of the mental health of university students in the United States showed that 54 percent suffered from overwhelming anxiety. Unfortunately, youths who lack the ability to bring their anxiety under control often turn to unhealthy “self-help” strategies (think drugs, alcohol, cutting, eating disorders, and habit disorders) and/or avoidance (withdrawing from whatever provokes anxiety). Younger kids with overwhelming fears or worries usually don’t discover relief beyond temper tantrums, which enable them to avoid scary situations. Their distressed mental state, however, impacts their physical health: as a result of internalizing their emotions, they often suffer from chronic headaches, stomachaches, rashes, or other symptoms. How can we help our children — and ourselves — face fear? The first step is understanding what exactly anxiety is, and what this powerful emotion does to our bodies. 

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


MM217
 
The Fortunes of War
Rabbi Moshe Grylak We’re still feeling the fallout of the First World War
Some Lessons, But Few Portents
Yonoson Rosenblum What the midterms tell us about 2020
Vote of Confidence
Eyan Kobre Why I tuned in to the liberal radio station
5 out of 10
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin Top 5 Moments of the Kinus
Day in the Life
Rachel Bachrach Chaim White of KC Kosher Co-op
When Less is More
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman How a good edit enhances a manuscript
It’s My Job
Jacob L. Freedman “Will you force me to take meds?”
They’re Still Playing My Song?
Riki Goldstein Yitzy Bald’s Yerav Na
Yisroel Werdyger Can’t Stop Singing
Riki Goldstein Ahrele Samet’s Loi Luni
Double Chords of Hope
Riki Goldstein You never know how far your music can go
Will Dedi Have the Last Laugh?
Dovid N. Golding Dedi and Ding go way back
Battle of the Budge
Faigy Peritzman Using stubbornness to grow in ruchniyus
The Challenging Child
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Strategies for raising the difficult child
Bucking the Trend
Sara Eisemann If I skip sem, will I get a good shidduch?
The Musician: Part 1
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer "If she can't read she'll be handicapped for life!"