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How to calm your child’s fears using a picture book

08 Jun

New Children’s book written for dads

For the last year, my now 3-year-old daughter has been dealing with fear. I know this is a normal—and healthy—process, but she has become so obsessed that even little things like ants bother her.

Pointing a finger and screaming at bugs, crying when the vacuum cleaner and mower are turned on, shying away from pictures of certain animals, and being afraid of the dark.

Again, normal, right?

Well, regardless of whether it is or not, l want her to feel safe. Whenever she gets scared, I tell her that Daddy will protector her. She seems to calm down after that. For example, she would say, “Daddy, I’m afraid of the monster.” To which I’d respond, “Don’t worry, Daddy will protect you from the monster.” A soft little voice usually answers, “OK.” Of course, I also explain to her that monsters don’t exist, but she’s not entirely convinced of that, yet.

Don’t get me wrong, there are Boogie Men out there. Maybe not in a fantastical sense—like Stephen King’s It—but there are physical realities that can harm her just as easily. Things like running across the street without looking, getting into a stranger’s car, or petting a stray dog.

It’s important for her to learn common sense. But who says it has to be done without a safety net? Isn’t that partly what dads are for? It’s true that mothers are invaluable, but there’s just something unique about a dad’s presence.

So, as a surprise that even my wife didn’t know about, I wrote Daddy, I’m Afraid.

I had to keep it a secret for many months while waiting for my daughter’s third birthday. Finally, the day arrived. I handed her the package and watched with nervous anticipation as she pulled off the wrapper. And then she saw the book.

A smile? That was promising.

Once nighttime rolled around, snuggled in her bed, I read the book to her for the first time. Another smile, even an “awwwwwww” escaped her lungs, not to mention a, “Thank you, Daddy” at the end.

Mission accomplished!

By using a few examples of the things that scare her, such as darkness, bees, and even a playground slide, I was able to bring the scary down to her level while letting her know that Daddy is on her side—always willing to build her up and give her the confidence she needs to, one day, stand on her own.

Back when I was working on this project, I had debated whether I should make it public or keep it private. And then it occurred to me that other children might be going through a similar struggle, so I decided to add Daddy, I’m Afraid to my list of published works.

Why?

Because I want all the fathers out there to hear their sons and daughters thank them for feeling safe, secure, and loved. Your children are worth it, and your words will go a long way. Reading to them at bedtime is a bona fide way to calm their fears while gaining their trust. Perhaps even help them to sleep better.

It may seem like a little step now, but each one will make a big difference down the road. So why not go out there and show the critics what it means to be a dad? I believe in you, and I know your children will too.

Click here to acquire a copy of Daddy, I’m Afraid (at Amazon.com).

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Posted by on June 8, 2012 in Books

 

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