I’ve recently had two children referred to me who have a fear of being abducted or kidnapped after reading and hearing the news about Madeleine McCann.
The problem with 24/7 News coverage is that it blows out of proportion the amount of bad things that can happen and children are very sensitive and can become very anxious about things happening to them that they’ve seen on the news.
When you see a ‘Missing’ poster anywhere, does your child feel uneasy?
Are they paranoid about being abducted by a stranger?
Of course it’s only natural to fear being kidnapped if the story runs in the news but what can you do if it disturbs your child for longer ?
Firstly be mindful and turn off the TV – I remember my own daughter Molly being very anxious about the missing children Holly Wells & Jessica Chapman when we were on holiday in Spain as Sky News had it on a loop all day.
We discussed what had happened in context and age appropriate for her and made sure that we limited what both my children heard and saw around this traumatic and harrowing story.
Here are some ideas how you can help your child overcome their fear.
1. Talk and more importantly LISTEN to your child about their fear. When your child’s worries are clogging up their mind, get them out into the open by allowing your child to simply voice their anxiety. Children who feel heard feel less worried. Scary dreams and fearful thoughts lessen once your child shares them out loud with you.
2. Respect your child’s fear by listening to their anxiety without dismissing it as “silly” – their anxiety is very real to them and they need your reassurance and advice about how to handle their fears.
3. Despite seeing “missing” stories from the media, talk & teach your child so they understand that the chances of being abducted by a stranger are extremely rare. Look at ways to point out how you keep your child safe – from locks on the doors, to window locks, to house alarms so they can see how safe they are – show them that you are safe in your home.
4. Talk about ways to keep safe when they are out walking to school, going on the bus or getting on a train or going to meet a friend at The Shopping Centre. Discuss ways to stay safe, no matter how old they are as being prepared helps a child feel in control and confident about what to do in an emergency if you are not around.
5. Stick to areas where there are plenty of people around – talk and teach your child to stay safe by making sure they don’t end up walking in a lonely and isolated place.
6. To boost your child’s sense of security and confidence make sure they bring their mobile phone with them ( if they are old enough to have one ) and to make sure it’s fully charged. If your child has limited minutes on their mobile phone, be sure that you refill those minutes once in a while to ensure that they’ll be able to text or call someone if they’re in trouble.
I use Emotional Freedom Technique or “Tapping” with the children, parents & adults I work with to remove the trauma and anxiety – click here to download my free ebook EFT Questions and Answers or call me on 01342 833355 to arrange your personal session with me.