My Child Is Afraid
& My Child Is Afraid To Try Something New

Child psychology specialist contend that experiencing fear is normal. Adults are aware that fear is a feeling that will pass normally after a short period of time. Children who have not had all the experiences that adults have had are often more anxious and cautious. One role in parenting children includes helping our children cope with their fears.

Some of the most common fears that occur in children between the ages of 5 and 6 include the fear of school, the dark, small animals, heights, water and getting lost.

Children between the ages of 6 and 11 years of age are often afraid of thunder and lightening, dentist and doctors, airplanes and robbers. Children 12 and up often have social fears. They want to “fit in” and fear that they may not measure up to the standards that are set by their peers. Rejection is a common fear in this age group. Taking test, giving oral reports, being embarrassed and dating are also common.

What Can Parents Do?

• Don’t dismiss your child’s fears. Refrain from making comments such as “Stop being silly. You have nothing to fear.” Instead make supporting statements such as “I know you are afraid of getting on the bus. Your best friend and I will be there with you.”
• Let your child know that being afraid or having fears are okay.
• Gradually help your child to overcome a fear. If the child is trying something new, it may take more time. Be patient.
• It’s important that you do not become fearful of their fears, but confident that you have the ability to help your child work through the situation. Fear can be contagious.
• Help your child build a sense of control. Many children are fearful or afraid to try something new because they do not feel in control. For example: A child who is afraid to have friends over because they do not know what will happen or how to behave may be more comfortable starting with one friend at a time. As the parent, you may have to help by being the activity director. Help plan the activities with your child and make separate plans just in case the friend is fearful of trying the activity.
• Children who are fearful need to be in an atmosphere that is safe and has boundaries. Parents need to set limits. Some children, who do not exhibit fears, may develop a fear due to a lack of rules, boundaries and limits set by the parent. Safety rules for bike riding, seat belts in cars and fire safety readiness are examples of rules that need to be established to help our child feel in control and secure.
• If your child is exhibiting on-going fears, crying or continually refusing to try something new, inform your medical doctor. Some fears grow into phobias and need to be addressed by a trained medical professional. If the fear is school related, speak with the school counselor, social worker, psychologist, nurse, teacher or administrator.

Trying Something New

• Be aware of the developmental stage that your child is at. Do not force your child to try something new, but encourage your child to try. If you show signs of anger or frustration over your child’s fear, shyness or lack of confidence, this may only delay your child’s ability to overcome the fear.
• Do not convey your own personal fears to the child. For example: If you are afraid of the water and participating in swim lessons, speak to the swim instructor so that he or she may pay special attention to your child. You may want to take a separate lesson yourself.
• Some children are afraid of trying something new due to a fear of failure. If this is the case, reduce competition and allow your child to try the new activity in a setting where the number of children involved is low.
• Accompany your child when he or she is trying a new activity.
• If your child often refuses to make any attempt in trying new activities, offer alternative activities. For example: “ You may either join Cub Scouts or the AWANA church activity. I will become a leader in either activity. Which one do you want to join?”
• Make “trying something new” a family practice. Parents need to show their children that they can make new friends and invite friends over to play cards etc. Get the whole family involved in a new activity together. Do volunteer work. The YMCA, Community Education Programs and local church programs are great places to start. You no not need a lot of money to get your family doing something together.

Author's Bio: 

Scott Wardell is the SelfGrowth Official Guide to Child Development. He’s the creator and author of Scott has twenty-eight years in education and counseling experience. Visit and receive online counseling services.

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Scott Wardell, the Official Guide To Child Development