How Can I Help My Child Overcome Fear

Annie The Nanny

Annie The Nanny

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Annie the Nanny is a professional parenting educator. She writes a weekly advice column for parents who need help with their children's behaviour. Her advice has also been featured on CTV, CBC and in all kinds of print media. For more information about Annie, please go to her 'about' page.

Hi Annie,

I have a question. How can I help my child overcome fear? Recently, my son has started to get really worried about me. I had to help clean up after a party the other night and left after the fireworks, and my husband put him to bed. He cried for two straight hours, thinking the fireworks were going to hurt me.

If he were 3, this wouldn’t bother me, but he is 7 now! Then tonight I went to a friend’s house to watch her kids for her for a while, and again my husband put my son to bed, and this time he cried for almost 4 hours, screaming that he was scared something happened to me; he kept saying, “I think mom might be dead!”

This is scaring me big time, and I don’t know what to do. I had a long talk with him, telling him I would be ok and not to worry about me, but I am just at a loss. Please, any advice will do! Thanks Crystal

How can I help my child overcome fear

Hi Crystal,

Here are my thoughts. This is a stage, an unusual one to be sure, but fears popping up at seven are not out of the realm of possibilities.

How can I help my child overcome fear?  Model calmness.

In order to prevent it from becoming anything other than a transient fear, you must react as calmly as you can and simply reassure him as long as he needs reassuring, but don’t alter your behaviour. In other words, if you want to go somewhere, go. Don’t let the possibility of a reaction on his part deter you. If he gets into a panic, talk to him calmly, but try very hard not to give him a whole lot of extra attention for this behaviour. That means you must not discuss his strange behaviour with anyone else in his presence. If you want to talk about it with your husband, make sure your son’s asleep first. He must feel as though you expect him to behave completely normally.

How can I help overcome my child’s fear?  Don’t give attention to the behaviour.

The only thing that will make this behaviour persist is if you inadvertently give him attention for it by reducing your activity and acting as though it really is a problem. In other words, if you expect a problem, that’s exactly what you’ll get. The trick is to act as if this is a passing fear and that you are confident he will soon put it to rest, which, don’t worry, he will.For more help with your parenting, please visit my parenting services page.

I hope this helps.

All the best,


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