Do your kids ever get scared of things that leave you really confused and wondering why???
Sometimes our children have fears that seem really irrational to us. They might be related to seemingly everyday objects or events (and of course sometimes they are related to stressful or traumatic experiences too).
Sometimes we can trace these fears back to a particular experience… but quite often we can’t. And this can leave parents feeling powerless, like there’s nothing they can do because they don’t know the root cause.
The the truth is, it doesn’t really matter what particular event or circumstance caused the fear. What’s important is that these feelings of fear are ‘frozen’ or trapped within the energetic body and need to be released.
And you know the good news?
We we can always, always help our children to release and heal these feelings. It’s never too late.
What does it look like when our children feel scared?
They might be
:: resisting separation
:: acting aggressively
:: taking a loooong time to fall asleep
:: or waking frequently during the night
These signs of being scared can be challenging for parents sometimes. You might feel frustrated or confused and be wondering how you can help your child through this without losing your patience?!
Today I want to talk about how we can use play to heal and work through fears with closeness and connection.
I’ll be talking about two types of Attachment Play that come from Aletha Solter’s Aware Parenting philosophy.
The first type of play we can use is Symbolic Play.
This is where you use toys or props that are related to your child’s fear and suggest playing with them together.
It’s important to remember that when you begin this type of play, which will trigger your child’s fears, to begin very gradually. It’s very important for your child to feel emotionally safe. If they are showing you that they don’t feel that safety right now you can instead choose to focus on connection and love. And come back to the fear based play at a later time.
Recently a mama told me about her son who is terrified of animals.
Using this example you might try
:: inviting your child to play with animal figurines
:: making animals out of clay or even biscuit dough!
The second type of play we can use is Power Reversal Play
This type of play encourages therapeutic laughter and helps children to release feelings of powerlessness. Most children experience this from time to time, simply because they are often smaller and weaker.
Power Reversal Play involves the parent acting weak/ clumsy/ frightened/ slow.
Using the previous example where the child was afraid of animals, you might try
:: using some plastic snakes/ spiders/ insects and pretending to be terrified when you see them or they are near you (most likely, when your child notices your reaction they will want to chase you around the house with them!)
:: pretending to be lions and tigers. Your child could chase you around while you pretend to be scared. Then you could swap roles but be a slow lion/ tiger who can’t seem to catch the swift child.
Your participation in the play increases your child’s sense of emotional safety while helping to release and heal their fearful feelings.
Childhood fears are very normal, but they can sometimes lead to stress in the family. If you’re wanting to help your child move past their fears, the specific types of play that I’ve shared today can be very healing, whilst maintaining closeness and connection.
I’d love to know if you found this helpful, or if you have any questions? Join the conversation in the Lightfilled Parenting Facebook group