How to raise a fearless child?

Have you ever wondered how the fears, certain beliefs, and negative thoughts formed inside you? Wouldn’t you wish if you could teach your children to be optimistic and confident so they don’t have to fight with any fears or pessimism later in life? Well, you can!

First, you must understand the brain and the formation of memory. Two types of memories form our long-term memory – implicit and explicit memory. Implicit memories are those that are available to us unconsciously such as singing a song or riding a bike etc. Explicit memories are the ones we knowingly recall such as an event, phone numbers, definitions we learned in a class, etc.

Implicit memories are very important as they start to form from the womb itself and till 18 months, a child encodes only implicit memories. They majorly form our reactions, behaviours and our fears. Implicit memory is all about associations that we make from our present experiences to our past.

It is very crucial when it comes to children, it can help you have a better understanding of their fears and beliefs. As parents, if you can identify moments where the memory is creating fear or negative belief, you can help your child change or alter it to make it a positive one. The key to knowing such moments is just making your unknown memories into known, making yourself aware of them. This is the power of integrating your two types of memories, which leads to a balanced mind.

How to help your children integrate memories?

Replay memories again and again – a lot of times children are not able to remember full events or because it was unpleasant or scary, they don’t want to talk about it. So go slow, part by part! Doing this, you will be able to pause and allow your child to go through the difficult parts easily. It will also allow you to help fill in the missing dots or give better suggestions that your child might not be able to see. This exercise will allow him to put the whole event together in a better and meaningful manner and turn an unpleasant, scary memory into a positive one.

Make ‘remembering’ a part of your family’s daily life – This will automatically teach your children to go over their daily events again and improve the integration of memories. You can incorporate ‘remembering’ by doing some of the following:

  1. Ask questions that will help your child remember
  2. Encourage them to write a journal
  3. Play games to help them open up – for example, say two things that are real and two fake things which occurred today
  4. As a family, share one good and one bad thing that happened to you in the day

As you try these methods, just remember that always offers the child a safe place to express themselves. Also, as parents don’t forget that sometimes, some events just occur because the child is either hungry, tired, or wants your attention. So don’t overthink it!

Memory integration can help your child lead a more balanced, healthier, and happier life.

Rashi Jain

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