How to Help Your Child Overcome Fears

Three Methods:Understanding the child's fearTaking the fears seriouslyHelping the child overcome the fear

Fear is something that always happens, to all people, in their whole life, but fear comes with kinds of degrees. With who did the fear happen? With a family? With a friend? With a school? With a community? With a group? Or with a country? All these questions gives a value to the level of the fear, if a problem happened with a country, you can fly with your imagination about how scary it is, but if it was with a friend you won’t get scared as much as from a country. These all affects the behavior and the feelings, also the brain and the way of thinking, the level of the fear, thinking and thinking later the brain starts to think everything negatively , the behavior the teenager will always be unconfident and later on she/he can have a trauma. If you saw something so painful and scary, you will never be able to forget it, but if you lived that painful and scary moment, you will never be able to forget how you felt at that moment.

When a child is tormented by fear of ghosts and monsters or anything evil, you can help the child overcome these fears. Be understanding, listen well and try the following suggestions to help your child move beyond the fear.

Method 1
Understanding the child's fear

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    Understand your child's fear. Young children are still discovering the world that they live in. Their imagination is developing and hence whatever they see/ hear in life can result in formation of scary mental images. Thus, leading to a fear of darkness, imagining a monster in the dark room. Children become fearful at different ages, with different intensities and about different things. Therefore, there is no one best way to overcome fears. It has to be customized according to your child’s developmental stage and his ability to handle stress.
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    Talk to your child. Talking to your child will definitely make him feel more comfortable. Let your child share his fear with you. Ask him to explain what is it that he is scared of and why? Let him explain how he felt. Show him your concern while he discusses his fear with you. Tell him how you were also scared of several things as a child. This empathy will definitely strengthen your bond with your child as he starts believing that you care and are concerned about his feelings.

Method 2
Taking the fears seriously

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    Do not ignore your child's fear. If your child is scared of a particular relative, caregiver or a neighbour, do not ignore it or force the child to be with them. Instead, speak to your child about it and let him explain what makes that person fearful. Even if you think that the person is unlikely to cause any trouble to the child, do give your child some benefit of doubt.
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    Do not make fun of your child’s fears. Making fun of a child’s fear will not make him less fearful; instead, it will increase his anxiety and at the same time lower his self-esteem. This can lead to more intense problems like developing phobias (an advanced state of fear). The child can overcome his/her fear only with your love and care. Neglect will only develop negative feelings in the child.
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    Give the right message. Don’t send wrong messages to your child by saying things like: “Stop being a baby”, “Don’t be scared”, “See, your friend is not scared”, etc. This makes the child believe that it is wrong to be scared and he/she will stop sharing his fears with you. Tell your child that it's all right to be afraid. Also, explain him that it is okay to share his fear and to ask for help.

Method 3
Helping the child overcome the fear

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    Do not force your child to do something that he or she is scared of. Forcing the child is likely to worsen his or her fear. Just think how you would react if you were forced to hold a scary bug in your hand or to go bungee jumping. Allow your child to take his or her own time to adjust and overcome the fears. Support your child with all the love and care that you can.
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    Model being brave. Your child will always follow your actions. If you freak out at something, probably the child will also react in the same way. Your child believes if something or someone is safe for you, it is safe for him too. Also, don’t make your child scared by freaking out every time you feel that the child might hurt himself. Instead, just walk to him to assist him and explain what he should and shouldn't do for ensuring safety, in a calm way.
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    Keep children away from fearful characters. A young child cannot differentiate between reality and fantasy. Children do get scared of the fantasy characters that they watch on TV. Turn off the scary TV shows. Also, let your child understand the difference between fantasy and reality by explaining to him how movies and cartoons are made in a simple manner.
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    Offer to walk with the child through the house/room/area that the child associates fear with. Open all the doors, look under the bed; use light to show that nothing is there. If your child is frightened by sounds or shadowy images, discuss what could actually be causing these sounds in a non-judgmental way.
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    Use humor to defray the fear. Have the child describe to you the monster that he or she is imagining. Add silly things to that image, such as checkered underwear or a silly hat. Maybe you could pretend that this imaginary monster is asking to use the child's bathroom because he really, really has to go, or he is sad because he doesn't have many friends. Play on your child's empathy for it. This will humanize the image of the monster and make him more likeable and less scary.
    • Fill a spray bottle with a mixture of water and some lavender or other aromatic oil. Stick a big label on it that says "Monster Spray" and tell your child that this will keep all monsters away because, not only are they afraid of water, but the sweet smell makes their nose itch. Spray a few spritzes into the air and assure your child that any monster would have to be crazy to come in here now.
    • Put a dish by the door and fill it with a few candies, then tell your child that candy is a monster's favorite thing in the world but once they eat them they become soft and sweet, like puppy dogs.
    • Take a ball of yarn and lay a "monster barrier" around your child's bed. Tell your child that monsters can't cross that sort of barrier and if they try, they will go poof and are zapped away like magic.
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    Make sure your child knows he or she is loved. Make it clear that you will always be there to protect your child.


  • A nice cup of warm milk in a special teacup can help at night, add a tea bag that is not caffeine based, such as vanilla rooibos tea to make a nice flavor.
  • You can put some lavender in a spray bottle. Spray this into the air and tell the child it will help to get rid of those negative things that are bothering them. Lavender is a very calming herb and will settle the child. It is also an action that the child will see, and help calm them.
  • Numerous books and movies are available about friendly ghosts and monsters.
  • If your child is still scared, consider sitting in bed with them until they fall asleep.
  • Read or watch some of these with your child to help them imagine non-threatening creatures that might visit their room at night.
  • Be very wary of letting a young child watch movies with a PG (parental guidance) rating. If the movie is PG, read why it is PG. If there are thematic/scary parts, do not let a fretful child watch until he or she is older. The site Common Sense Media can be helpful for finding reviews and getting advice from other parents.
  • Kids don't like it when you take their fears lightly so pay attention to them.


  • Get rid of all scary items in your home.
  • Sometimes unreasonable fears may have some basis in the child being molested or some other past trauma. If so, seek professional help.

Article Info

Categories: Childhood Fears and Phobias