Fear-Less Triple P is for parents (of children aged 6 to 14) who’d like to learn how to teach their children to manage anxiety effectively. There are two different types of Fear-Less Triple P:
FEAR-LESS TRIPLE P MAY BE DELIVERED TO FAMILIES AS…
A 2-hour seminar introducing general concepts and tips
For Parents of children (aged 6-14) who’d like to get some tips on anxiety management for their family
A more targetted group or individual program
(can be delivered in different ways, a 6-week program; a 3-week program; or a 1-day workshop)
For Parents of children experiencing clinically significant anxiety causing a high level of distress and interference in activities (e.g., not being able to attend school or make class presentations, attend school camps or go on sleep-overs, etc.)
We’ve been researching Fear-Less Triple P for 10 years now and indications are that it’s just as effective (and in the longer term, more effective) than more traditional, child-based interventions. We can also reach many anxious children that, for various reasons, either can’t or won’t attend traditional therapy sessions. Fear-Less Triple P also gives everyone in the family (not just one child) the chance to benefit by learning how to manage anxiety effectively.
What’s normal when it comes to childhood fears?
by Professor Matt Sanders, founder of the Triple P – Positive Parenting Program
Small children can be frightened of many things, from the understandable (getting lost, getting hurt) to the seemingly odd: the toilet, the doorbell, a particular book or toy – you name it, kids can be scared of it!
Most childhood fears are common, fairly mild and will pass as your child grows and learns more about the world around them. However, there are some kids, and adults, who develop persistent anxiety, fears and/or phobias. These can be quite debilitating as they can interfere with everyday activities.
So, as a parent, are there ways you can tell if this is just a normal fear for a child of this age or if you may need to take more specific action? One way is to take a step back and try to tune in to whether or not your child’s reaction is getting better or worse over time.
GETTING USED TO NEW THINGS
So, for example, the first time your child encounters a lively puppy, he or she might look scared, or ask to be picked up. This is understandable, because the child isn’t familiar with the skills and behaviours that go along with having a puppy. However, if it’s your dog, or a neighbour’s or family member’s, the child will quickly become more familiar with the situation. They’ll see how others handle it, they’ll learn more about what to do, and naturally and gradually, they’ll get used to it and it’ll no longer be a problem.
In this way, what was previously new and alarming becomes predictable, and the child is comfortable and no longer afraid. Repeated exposure in a supportive environment can allow the child to learn, at a gentle pace, to deal with the situation rather than avoid it. This is often the best way for a child to overcome a fear.
WHEN FEAR CREATES MORE FEAR
But if the child only encounters a situation rarely, and each time they do, they have a frightening experience (and possibly are immediately removed again), they may become even more frightened. They want to avoid that situation again, and you can end up creating a cycle. Before long, the fear is much greater than any actual risk.
Some children can become anxious and fearful because of a combination of genetic influences and what they observe, if one or both parents is inclined to fearful or anxious themselves. And sometimes anxiety can be triggered by a traumatic event or experience, sudden changes, or a serious health problem.
It’s natural to comfort and reassure your child, and this is healthy up to a point. But you need a balance. A child can come to rely on you because they feel powerless or incapable of dealing with their own feelings. So encourage your child to think of ways they can deal with challenging situations, remind them of fears they’ve been able to overcome, and help them learn useful coping skills such as relaxation techniques. As much as possible you want to build up their own confidence in their ability to handle the situation, rather than relying on you.
GETTING HELP IS EASIER NOW THAN EVER – AND WORTH IT
There’s no doubt that if you think your child has a fear that’s interfering with their everyday life, it’s worth getting some help to deal with that. This is important to help prevent problems getting worse as they get older.
It’s good to know that just as an adult can, if you like, “transmit” fear to a child, they can also model coping skills and confidence. As well as seeking professional help from a psychologist, parents now have a new option in the form of the new Fear-Less Triple P program.