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We all want our child to inherit all our good qualities, good looks and everything good in the family? But what about fears? Indeed, many times we ourselves do not realize that we are unwittingly passing our own anxieties and fears to our kids whether it is something tangible like birds, dogs, heights or something less concrete like social skills, finance and etc. A mother of two kids, I still have a great fear of heights, closed rooms, lizards and many more. Even though I pretend at times not to be afraid, but the very thought of these things makes me tremble.
Experts are of the opinion that small children often learn from their parents and also react according to them. Whether it is a good habit or a bad, they simply follow. Since early learning is based upon the process of identification and association, kids start to develop, associate and program their subconscious state based on their parent’s fears. Clinical psychologists and anxiety specialists have stated that kids may start to be apprehensive about dogs if their parents keep telling them to avoid going to a park just because some dogs are around. So are there any means to prevent children from inheriting such fears or phobias from their adults?
Let’s take a look at some points that might help:
If you are anxious, take a break:
Witnessing a parent in an anxious state can be painful for a child. If a parent is consistently fearful or anxious, the child determines that a variety of scenarios are unsafe for them and there is evidence that despite your best intentions, you may till transmit your stress to the little child. In case you start to notice that your child too has started to exhibit anxious behaviors, then implement strategies to ensure that you don’t pass your own anxiety to them. For this, try to manage your own stress effectively and also help your kids to manage theirs.
Learn some fear management techniques:
It is often difficult to calm your child when you are yourself struggling to cope with your own anxiety. Learning some fear management techniques can help you to keep calm and as you learn to control your fears, you will be in a better position. Breathing helps a lot and if you breathe out longer than you breathe in, then you will soon find your body calming down.
Face your fears:
Avoiding your fear only makes the situation worse. Whatever your fear is, if you start to face it, it is bound to fade away. For example, if you fear to get into a lift, then it is best to get back to it every day and make the situation normal. The fear will surely run away the more you chase it.
Visualize a happy and peaceful place:
If you are in a situation that is very stressful or fearful for you, then simply take a moment and close your eyes and imagine a place that is safe and calm. This could be a picture of a beautiful beach or your comfortable bed with your best story book. Allow the positive feelings to soothe you and this will make you feel more relaxed.
Gain control of your imagination:
Anxiety and fear often thrive when we imagine the worst situation. If you have fear of anything, then try to control your imagination. Any uncontrolled imagination is always a nesting ground for fear and anxiety and this can spoil happy lives. Try to maintain a clam atmosphere when you are in front of your child. Be aware of your emotions, facial expressions because your kids are probably reading you.
Explain your fears or anxiety:
It is true that you don’t want your child to witness your anxious moments and it is not always possible to constantly suppress your emotions. It is fine for your kids to see you cope up with stress, but at times it is also important to explain them why you reacted that way. This will help your kids to understand the situation and protect them from any anxious situations.
The above strategies should be wisely followed based on the situations, so that you don’t let your own fears pass on to your kids and create a situation that is unhealthy for them.