Kariboo was really afraid… After all that time in the orphanage, she had finally met her new forever family. But now they were gone. Fear and worry controlled her little mind, not letting her think about anything else.
Adopted children often experience acute fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of abandonment, fear of loneliness, fear of failure, fear of many things.
Once human beings experience fear, it creeps into their minds and is very hard to eradicate.
How can you help your child conquer those and other fears?
First, help them see that fear is always in the future. ‘What if…?’ are the words that always come before experiencing any fear. Fear is an extreme worry over what might happen if whatever occurs. Even in extreme situations, when facing the cause of our fear, we’re still thinking ‘what if…?’ Let’s imagine it is mice that we’re afraid of. Our mind is not afraid of the animal itself, but of what may happen if… the mouse approaches or even touches us, if it bites us, if we can’t run away from it, etc. Once the kid understands this reality, it becomes much easier to handle.
Then, help your child learn some tricks to come back to the now and stop focusing on the future. Some simple mindfulness techniques might help. For example, teach your kid to choose one object in the room and try and experience it fully with all five senses, to see it in every sense of the word see: its colors, its shape, its silhouette, its lights and shades, the way it compares to its background and so on; then to imagine what it feels like touching it: its weight, its texture, its different surfaces when touched with the fingertips or any other parts of the body and so on; then to smell it and the air around it to see if the object emits any scents of any kind; then to listen to the object and also to try and figure out how the object absorbs some of the sounds around it; and finally, to try and guess what the object tastes like. By the time the kid has gone through the five senses, fear will most likely have disappeared and the child will be firmly positioned in the now.
You can also tell your child to distract the mind by using what I call a “mind switch.” The human mind can only truly focus on one thing at a time. Teach your child to use one of the following tricks when fear starts: to stand on one leg and focus on standing on it for a couple of minutes. Or to dance to one whole song. Or to recite the words to one well-known song (not sing it but say it.) By focusing the mind on those other actions, fear has no room in the child’s mind.
If your kid applies these very easy techniques when fear lurks, chances are fear will stop and little by little, end up disappearing all together.
Kariboo learned from Pepe to hope and wait, to smile and trust. Be your own child’s Pepe and help your kid conquer fear.
Enjoy life… ALL of it,
Jessica J. Lockhart – humanology – www.jessicajlockhart.com
Jessica J. Lockhart is a humanologist, bestselling author and renowned international speaker. Follow her here: