These days our kids are easily exposed to scary images and video.

The reality is, children do not normally distinguish fantasy from reality until about age 6.  So even closely beyond this age, we can see how our children can become frightened of whats in the media. 

And lets face it, most children are on “media”.  Add to this, the creative way other children tell the story to make it more scary!!! 

Now imagine the child on the receiving end; we have kids who are more sensitive than others, more imaginative than others, and more affected than others.  Kids have their own worries, and now adding frightening media in their path can really have an impact to their overall well being.

Some children can develop symptoms of anxiety from watching parts of media that scare them.  Violent media can create fears that extend into adult life.  This can also impact quality of sleep; appetite may change;  learning may be affected; behaviour changes (sometimes behaviour becomes aggressive or regressive) and then we arrive at possible mental un-wellness.  

It’s only logical for me to suggest that adults limit screen time for their children.  Also supervise choice of media ensuring it is age appropriate, and making this decision according to their child’s developmental level and emotional intelligence.  

There may be times that media spontaneously or deliberately lands in your child’s view and this may have an emotional impact on them.  Once you become aware, get in touch with your child and communicate respectfully about how they feel.  Be empathetic, and help them manage their fear.  Find techniques that you know will work for your child.  Rationalising fears can be useful, and can put an end to it.  Sometimes kid friendly meditations, guided visualisations,  pleasant stories can be soothing and lead towards a better nights sleep.,

Find ways to turn bad images into silly ones so they can have an opportunity to transform their fear.  Counting breaths, muscle relaxations, and I’m sure you have a few tips that work for your family. Sometimes ask your child, what will help them.  They may have internal strengths and resources that you have not realised – allow them to teach you, and you can extend the experience from there. 

In clinic I have had many opportunities to discover that kids have frightening images of media they have come across or been told about.  They can seem just as frightened from seeing something or hearing something.  This show us how easily some frights get transferred to other children.  But I would like to tell you also, that if your child is easily convinced by a scary story, then they may be easily convinced by a happy, inspiring and transpiring story too. 

Lucky I have little tricks up my sleeve as a therapist to intervene with these frightening images or mental movies that kids may play in their minds.  At all times I respect their fear and the way they feel.  What they feel is genuine. It is important to the child that I am treating, to trust me and let me into their world, describing their fear in a way that shows me how to devise a plan to succeed at giving this child tools to take with them.

One of my favourite techniques [neurolinguistic programming] is where I anchor a feeling of safety, taylor made /created with the child, and we may consider the frightening scenario in a way that they child can handle (and not beyond) and then together we devise a plan to transform this image and thus the feelings /emotions attached to it to ultimately become so small, and insignificant, and rather often something to giggle about.  

My aim is for kids to walk away empowered and with skills to stand strong when they once hunched over with fear.  

For more information or if you are concerned about your child, I welcome you to email me at amanda@positivethinkingclinic.com.au