When my daughter was 2 we lived in a house with a mural on the bathtub wall. It was a Polynesian scene with a palm tree and some strange looking Tiki figures. One day, for some reason, she became terrified of the scene and refused to take a bath. I tried everything I knew then (I wasn’t a therapist at that time) to no avail. She was adamant about not stepping into the tub and became hysterical if anyone tried to coax or force her.

This went on for many weeks, and I was concerned about keeping her clean. At that time, I had read a wonderful book written by a famous psychiatrist who used to meet with groups of mothers of normal children to guide them in parenting. He seemed so compassionate and wise that I wrote him a letter telling him of my problem. His reply to me was simply to wait and not worry. He said her fear would disappear one day and so it did.

I remember to this day how worried and frustrated I felt. I was powerless to convince my 2 year-old or take away her fear. A few weeks ago I was visiting my daughter and her children. It was bath time, and my 2 1/2 year-old grandson refused to take his bath. He was very upset. Grandpa and I were sitting on the couch playing with him. Instead of trying to persuade, trick or bargain with him, we simply started to use EFT on ourselves as we sang a song to the child.

EFT is a simple technique of gently tapping on 8 acupressure points that relax and raise the serotonin in the brain to release fear. This is called surrogate tapping. You can focus on the person with a problem and tap as a stand-in for that person. Grandpa and I were tapping, “Even though you don’t want to take a bath, no way, you are a very good boy.” Then, as we gently tapped I sang a song, “No, no, no, I won’t go!” Every once in a while, I would gently tap his collarbone point or the eyebrow point in a tickly way. We sang about hating to take a bath, not in the mood, no one’s going to make me, and whatever came to mind. He liked the “NO, no no” part a lot.

The brief EFT treatment only lasted a few minutes. Then, when his sister said that she was going in for their bath, he hopped down and went after her. He got right into the bathtub as if there had never been any problem. His resistance hasn’t come back.

If only I had EFT all those years ago when my daughter gave me such a hard time! It works like magic with children because it isn’t about reasoning with them, especially toddlers. EFT works on the brain. It raises the serotonin in the brain. Serotonin does 2 things: it soothes us and it also erases fear reactions from a part of the brain that is involved with fear. That is why fears go away so quickly.

In my book, "Five Simple Steps to Emotional Healing," I relate a story that a colleague shared about helping a little girl who was afraid of sitting on Santa Claus’s knee. Again, he did it in just a few minutes.

With children, adults can gently tap on the child if they will allow it or tap on themselves as they speak for the child about his fear, anger, sadness, etc. Use simple language. I enjoy singing it and even including a little dance or twirl. EFT is non-threatening and can make those “terrible twos” become “terrific twos.”

Author's Bio: 

Gloria Arenson, MS, MFT, specializes in using Energy Psychology techniques to treat stress, anxiety, panic, trauma, phobias, and compulsions. Her extensive knowledge of eating disorders and compulsive behaviors led her to write How To Stop Playing The Weighting Game, A Substance Called Food and Born To Spend. She is also co-author of Freedom At Your Fingertips. Her latest award-winning book is Five Simple Steps to Emotional Healing.

Ms. Arenson is an internationally known and charismatic teacher and speaker. She has appeared on major radio and TV shows throughout the United States and Canada. She is Past President of the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology and is in private practice in Santa Barbara, California.

Visit her website at http://www.GloriaArenson.com