How to raise brave kids - that understand FEAR

How to raise brave kids - that understand FEAR
When confronted by someone or an unusual event we are often surprised by our body's reaction, often interpreted as 'Fear'. At a physiological level our body is dumped with adrenalin which makes our muscles ready to fight or flee from any perceived attack or stressful situation, that is our 'fight' or 'flight' instinct. These two primordial responses are most obvious in children who will run away or lash out when stressed. But as we grow older our response is often overridden by our 'intelligent brain' which can place us into a state of internal conflict resulting in the third F, 'Freeze'. We can find ourselves in a state of denial that the circumstances, in which we find ourselves, should not be happening. Our gut tells us to run or fight while our socialised brain tries to make sense of the situation.

Adrenalin (epinephrine) is a natural body chemical that causes our muscles to perform quicker resulting in more strength and a faster response. Associated with this adrenal dump is a release of dopamine to act as a natural pain killer. All this results in reactions like shaky knees or butterflies in the stomach and a strong feeling that you want to be somewhere else. All of which is simply interpreted as fear. This is quite natural and can result whenever placed under stress, from being required to speak in public to being threatened by someone. 

We need to teach our children that these feelings are quite natural and everybody feels them at some time. What we need to learn and teach is the appropriate reaction.  We have alternatives, we can ..
a) accept or deny the situation;
b) Be challenged or threatened;
c) Think out an action plan or simply stop thinking.

If the cause of your stress is public speaking then you will find that having a plan and practice will help you overcome the fear. FEAR - False Expectations Appearing Real. Similarly, training the body and mind can help you to accept the situation, be challenged and not threatened, and to preplan your actions when challenged in a physical confrontation.

Run through possible stressful situations with your children, work through with them to discover some solutions then practise some scenarios and prepare them for the future. Fear does not have to control us or our children when we know its secrets and prepare.

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