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Talking through Child Fears

When bad things happen, it can be tempting to 'brush it under the carpet'. But the short-term easy option won't help your child learn to deal with fears.

If a close friend or relative has died and she's frightened she or you will die too, explain why they died, what death is and why it's unlikely that either of you will die just yet.

If your child has experienced a flood or burglary, she needs to know what precautions you (or the community) have taken to stop it happening again.
Change the way she thinks
Don't brush away her fears. Talk about why she's afraid. Discuss the logical reasons why she's safe. Fear thrives where there is ignorance, so answer her questions and explain why her fears are unfounded. If she picks up her fears from The News, tell her it is the fact that these things are unusual, that makes them newsworthy. No one is interested in ordinary events of everyday.
It may appear that she is obsessed with a particular fear and returns to it over and over again. This is normal. Children often take a long time to sort things out in their mind and need to be repeatedly reassured that their fears are unfounded.
Talk it through
Remember she may be embarrassed about her fears, so edge into the topic carefully. Ask if her friends are frightened about it. Her fears may be signs of a deeper anxiety so think about what may have triggered the fear.
It's time to worry if your child's fears are interfering with her life and persist as she grows up. Your GP can put you in contact with a mental health professional.

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