Fireburner - Helping children cope with fear

Its amusing that the first response most of us give to children - when they express any fear is, "There is nothing to be afraid of!"

Take a moment to think about this - how would such a response help you if you as an adult have any fears. Forget being helpful, such a response actually makes us feel more miserable about ourselves.

 

Fear, like any other emotion, is neither good nor bad. It is just there.

If you argue that fear can be limiting, then i can say, any emotion can be limiting.

A child watching TV for 8 hours can turn around and say, "Why you want me to stop watching TV, I am happy! Ain't happiness is what you want? Or do you want me to go out and start climbing walls and scare you and myself too :-)" So happiness can also be limiting.

But emotions perse are not limiting. Rather they are a signal of something going on inside me.

And hence fear is, like other emotions,  once accepted, to be understood. 

People, advertisers, schools, governments and many others will make you believe that fear is bad and it has to be conquered.

Maybe. Maybe not.

Perhaps the most ubiquitous is the fear of failure. Almost everybody is out to tell you this: "You have to be successful, you have to be confident, you have to have a strong personality ... " REALLY? 

First they make a monster out of everything and then they want us to devour it.

We all abhor adults scaring children with 'policeman will come and eat your lunch, so hurry up' story.

But isn't our schools & colleges doing the same, scaring us to believe that we are good enough only when we pass or actually score more than others.

But what if I decide to be neither successful, nor unsuccessful, neither confident nor not-confident.

What if I decide that I do not need to do anything about fears too.

It is like the cat who tries to catch its tail - just ends up going in circles. But when it goes about walking, the tail just follows.

Then what I am I left with - to do, to live, to understand, and to move on.

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So here is a one line summary of this fireburner session: 

Accept the child with his or her fear, spend time and effort in understanding the fear and then hand it over to the kid and say, "Fear is all yours. Enjoy it, love it, embrace it, hug it, kiss it !

 

Session recording video below, followed by presentation that we used, and here is one suggested article - Winning the Kingdom of Fears

 

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