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Fear Response

  • Posted on Nov 10, 2016

ccHow would you like your child to react to a stressful situation?  Most parents reply ‘with confidence and calmness’.  No parent wants their kid to ‘freak out’ in a stressful situation.  How we model responses to stressful situations is a teaching moment for our kids.  Explaining war and the news, the weather, and violence sometimes is hard to avoid.  We need to show calm and provide explanations to our children to put the event in perspective.  Just because the media has shown the event 800 times does not mean it happened 800 times.
The second most impactive advice I have is how we model fear.  When we are afraid of a dog and we react with our fear, our children quickly model this reaction.  I am not going to deny that if I think a spider is crawling on me…Yes, I am going to scream and wipe dramatically.  Well, why is that my reaction when I can tolerate bees and ants and snakes?  Because my mom is not a happy reactor to spiders.  I remember a spider event that my mom went a little ballistic…just saying.
And the third most impactive impression made to our children is our constant warnings.  When we tell our kids a potentially bad thing may happen, over and over, then their fear response is very strong vs children who have been told more positive things to an event.  For example, “You can’t go outside, it is too cold and you might get sick” verses “It is cold outside, come in and get a jacket if you feel cold.”   And another example is regarding vaccines.  Framing the flu vaccine as a part of life and that it is a little pinch to help you not get sick is so much better than framing the flu shot with an apology and a worried face.  The needle IS going to sting.  Don’t apologize.

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