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Kids and Fears

 Everyone has worries and fears. Some children are afraid of one specific thing, like bugs, dogs, the dark or storms. Some kids are afraid of many things like getting lost, being alone, the dark, new places and more. Even adults feel worried at times. As we grow older many of those fears go away because we learned the difference between a real danger and something that won't actually cause us harm.  We also learn as we grow ways to stay and be safe. 

 Many older kids still worry about: grades, relationships, being popular, being teased or not accepted by other kids, finding a job, leaving home, death, finding a boy/girl friend, scary things on tv or things that happen in real life that are scary and even world problems like poverty, war and pollution.  I was very, very, very scared to speak in front of my classmates when I was in middle and high school. I avoided public speaking at every chance I could. 

 It isn't easy to admit that you are scared. It is okay to have fears and worries. Maybe you have difficulty understanding your fears. Make a list of all of your fears and worries. It is helpful to keep a journal and write them down. Ask yourself: where in your body do you feel fear? What does it feel like? If you were to draw your body, what color would the fear be?  Which fears are the hardest to deal with?  Who can you talk to about what is bothering you. What could you tell them? How may that person help?  What are some things you can do that help you to feel better? 

What are fears and worries?

Fears and worries are not always bad. There are good reasons to be afraid or worried like if a growling dog is circling around you or if a bully wanted to punch you. It is a positive thing to be afraid as the fear is actually serving to protect you. When our body senses danger it begins to make chemicals that get us ready to fight, run away or stay perfectly still.  Experts call this fight, flight or freeze. These reactions in our body happen in seconds. We can not help that our bodies react this way, it is the way they are made. Long ago we had to protect ourselves from wild animals and other dangers. Sometimes you can even see animals do this when they are in danger: fight, flight or freeze.  Freezing helps us not to be noticed. 

So what happens in our bodies?

When we go into fight mode:  our heart pumps more blood so that we have the strength to fight. Adrenaline flows through our body which gives us a short burst of energy.

When we go into flight mode:  Our body revs up so that we can run faster and the blood flows to our legs so that we can get away. This helps us to run away and escape danger.

When we go into freeze mode:  Our body makes us stop and stay still. We can't move even if we wanted to . We feel revved up, but the energy isn't used to fight or to run away.

 Other things happen too: these are all perfectly normal reactions. They go away when the adrenaline stops flowing:

  • we may break out in a sweat all over
  • we may feel our hands and feel to be cold and/or sweaty
  • we may have goose bumps (when the hair on your body stands up, making the skin look bumpy)
  • butterflies in our stomach
  • a rush of blood to hands and face and scalp
  • feel like you can't think straight

Fear Stoppers:

1.  Tell the truth. Admit you have fears and worries. Write them down on paper. Talk to someone you trust about them. Let them help you.  How do you say it to someone? 

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