Can your child face their fears?
So here it is in the simplest way I can put it. Remember these three words: SCARY, HARD and BORING. Have you heard the expression “Give your children what they need, not what they want”. When was the last time your child encountered something scary, hard or boring? I don’t think we need to spend time on why our children today are very different than we were. Technology, getting everything they want quickly(instant gratification) and rarely failing(being protected from making mistakes…or helicopter parenting), have much to do with it. They are lacking the skills and experiences that make them strong physically, but more importantly emotionally and socially. In other words, without the good stresses of Scary (facing their fears), Hard(doing difficult tasks or other things they don’t necessarily want to do), or Boring (learning to “master the mundane”) they don’t have a chance to build those developmental muscles and become “weak” children, who later go on to be weak young adults.
Here is the bottom line: A child needs to experience all three emotions every single day. Much like taking a vitamin or a daily dose of medicine, the key to raising physically, mentally and socially strong children is having them experience each of these emotions daily! If not, multiple times a day. They need to do things that are scary or uncomfortable. They need to do things that are hard, and things they do not want to do….EVERY DAY!! They need to get bored and wait for things EVERY DAY“
With Bully prevention month around the corner I thought we could start with Scary!! I am even going to cover the other two…Hard and Boring in the next few weeks so, let’s concentrate on SCARY for now.
Simply put….Fears and anxiety are crippling our children and teens today. We see it every day its almost epidemic.
“Courage can only be developed in the presence of fear”
You can talk to your child until you are blue in the face about why and how they should be brave. You can show them examples. You can even model it yourself. But, they will never develop courage until they face and power through things that scare them. They have to be in the actual state and emotion of fear.
This leads us to the next principle you need to apply, “Every time I back away from a fear my FEAR gets bigger but every time I power through my fears I get bigger”
This is a big reason why anxiety develops. First something really small scares you. Pretty soon you do not even remember why but now you fear and hold back from doing many things. When these small fears disrupt your normal daily life, this is called anxiety.
Okay, so lets get back to the most important part: How do you apply this?
Just do one thing. Just become more aware. Become super aware of every single time your child becomes scared, uncomfortable, hesitates or wants to wait. Remember it is not your big fears that will crush you. It is your small fears. The small fears that happen every single day. Look for these clues. You will typically hear them say things like “That is too hard.” Or “I don’t want to do that.” Or, “can I do it next time?” Or, “can I just watch first.” Or, “I don’t want to get hurt.” Or, “I’m not good at _____.” Or, when they hesitate to participate/volunteer, sit in the back, cling to you or even hesitate to raise their hand.
Try never to let a scary learning opportunity go by. Look for them. They happen far more than you probably realize. Help your child develop the important awareness skill of “noticing” their feelings/symptoms and recognizing these as small fears. Then make sure to support them in powering through every single one of them.
There may be another even more important reason to never let a scary learning opportunity go by….. It feeds their fear!! You may initially feel like you are helping and protecting them but when you realize the results, t should drive you crazy to know you let another small fear take your child even one more step down the fear/anxiety spiral.
So, just remember.......SCARY, HARD and BORING. Then do the reps!!!
Have an amazing week!
Keiko Karate – “Actually we do make Ninjas and Superheroes here………………we turn kids into Ninjas and we turn their parents into their superheroes