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Stress Buster Strategies - #3 Dadddddy! There is a Monster in My Closet!

“Daddddddy!,” screams Alicia frantically, who should be sleeping. “What’s wrong, honey?” asks Dad as he rushes to ease his daughter’s distress. “There’s monster in my closet,” whimpers Alicia.

 Dad boldly opens the closet door and comforts her by saying, “See there is nothing in your closet!” “Maybe he went under the bed!” sniffles Alicia.

Dad, eager to assuage his daughter’s fears and get on with some things he needs to get done, says more irritatedly, “There is no monster in your room! Now go to sleep.” But DADDDDY!” pleads Alicia.

This goes on for several more minutes. It is understandable that Dad wants to alleviate his daughter’s fears. But instead of helping, he may be teaching his daughter that her fears not only control her but also her father. A child’s fears can be stressful for the entire family.

Since this is Mental Health Month, we are addressing fears and anxiety. Anxiety is becoming more prevalent. Childhood anxiety disorders are very common, affecting one in eight children.

Parenting Myth Buster: Your job is to protect your child from fearful situations.

Parenting Truth: Your job is to give your child the tools to be able to manage their fears and anxiety.

Fear and anxiety are an inevitable part of our human experience. It is important that we learn to conquer our fears or at least keep them in check in order to be successful. 

In the situation above, what tools could Dad have given his daughter? One of thing Dad could do is to teacher her to have a conversation with the monster and order the monster to leave. Teaching her this skill would give his daughter more confidence.

Note: Sometimes children use fears to get us to spend time with us. Parents might want to check to make sure their child’s emotional cup is full before bedtime. This eliminates reinforcing fears as a way to get parent’s attention.

While it's possible that your child may outgrow their anxiety, it's always better to take the proactive approach. Don't assume that your child will get better on their own. Getting your anxious child the support and help they need now can set them up for success later in life.

Parenting Practice: Instead of handling or protecting your child from their fears, find ways to empower your child to manage it by themselves or with your support. Then head on over to our Facebook page and share your results and get ideas from the results of others.

If your family is ready to understand how to be free of the worry boss, and have a more peaceful, fun, and adventurous life, please jump in and sign up for this course.


The new edition of the "Redirecting Children's Behavior" book is now out! Click here to order your copy on Amazon or Kindle.There are a ton of new materials to help you discipline in a way that connects you and your child during an altercation. Wouldn't you rather that than you and your child walking away feeling empty, frustrated or angry?


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