Morrisa Drobnick, LCSW, staff writer and advice columnist of “KIDS Magazine” answers a questions about children and fear.
Q – My son is afraid to go on the school bus. He is six years old and says he’d rather I take him and pick him up. What can I do? – A Working Mom, Hackensack.
A – Fears and phobias are common and within the normal range for a school age child. Focus your attention on helping your child cope with his fears. Ask him what makes him afraid of taking the bus. You may be surprised by his answer. A rattling window or the thought that the driver might not bring him home are both upsetting to a kid. Get him to express himself by role-playing, storytelling, or discussion.
Help him feel his inner strength. Acknowledge that life sometimes is scary. You could say, “Yes, I understand that you are afraid of going on the school bus, but I know you are brave and strong and it will be OK. I know you can do it.” Let him have his fears and learn how to handle them. Brainstorm with him about what he could do to conquer his fear or cope with it. Tell your child how you work at overcoming your fears. Don’t battle with him. Praise his progress. Tell him each day how well he is doing on the bus ride and remind him that tomorrow you know he will do even better.
This is a lesson here: Sometimes in life, we have to settle and compromise when we can’t have our first choice.
The Mars & Venus Counseling Center is here to help. We are located in Teaneck, Oradell, and Ramsey. NJ.