We live in a world that is unpredictable and can be very frightening to children. They are bombarded with negative images everywhere and they can even develop fears by simply observing how their parents are affected by every day stress. It sounds a bit ominous, but fear itself is not entirely all bad.
Fear is the 4th emotion to appear in the movie Inside Out. While the character is shy, timid, and indecisive, he is the dominant emotion that is responsible for protecting Riley from any perceived danger. Fear is responsible for assessing any given situation and evaluating all the possible risks Riley may face.
At its most basic level, fear is attached to our fight or flight response – a survival instinct protecting us when we sense danger. In the movie, Fear causes Riley to slow down and hesitate before attempting to slide down a railing at a park. Even as young as a toddler running around the house, Riley is shown stepping over the cord of a lamp that is plugged into an outlet. This is because of that inner voice alerting her of the possible danger.
But sometimes fear can get the best of us and just like other emotions we have, it is very important for people, especially children, to verbalize their fears so that they don’t prevent them from other positive experiences. Encourage your kids to try new things and help them develop a healthy sense of adventure. Don’t force them to push through their fears, instead help them see the possible outcomes of a situation so they can evaluate and prepare and then make a choice of whether to proceed. And above all things, remind them that they are safe.
Here is an easy project and great tool to help you and your children to work through any fears: