There are many ways in which parents respond to children’s fears: going from authority, to indifference, to the “parent that solves everything.” Apparently these methods work!
A child whose authoritarian parent asks him to no longer talk about fear, will stop talking about it. A child whose parent says: “Your fear is stupid. Don’t be a baby ” – will cease to talk about that fear. But the fact that the child does not talk about fear, the fact that he does not show certain symptoms does not mean that he is not afraid anymore. He will continue to seek a solution. Sometimes these searches, this fight will make him stronger, more creative. But the risk is that the child will not no longer trust his parents, he will hide from them. Another risk is that he will not find healthy ways of solving the problem, he will find unhealthy methods that will bring him distress, relational problems, failure.
At the other extreme, is the parent who solves everything. This is the parent who, in difficult situation will tell to his child: “You’re afraid. OK. Daddy /mum puts his superman costume and solves everything. You just sit and wait.” The method works. Every time the parent comes and solves the problem, the parent is a hero, the child is happy. Noticing what the parent is doing, how he is acting, what he is saying, the child will learn some effective methods of defence against fear. The child learns to trust others, and more importantly, he understands that he is loved. But even in this situation, there is unfortunately a risk. The risk that the child does not trust in his own strength, or he cannot develop his creativity, his imagination. In difficult situation that he will face, he will not builds solutions, he will desperately seek for another person to solve the problem.
The method that I am proposing you, the PAF method, is based on a partnership between children and parents. This method proposes to construct/ build/ create healthy, effective patterns to overcome fears but also patterns which enable parents and children to tackle various difficult situations.
The PAF method has very good results for all many different types of children’s fears. In the last 15 years, hundreds of parents applied it with excellent results. Many years after they have applied the method, parents still call me to tell me how well it worked and how much it has changed their lives.
This method is a very effective and useful tool for parents in order to overcome fears BUT does not deal with phobia!