Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Home Schooling - Life Skills - Conquering Fears


Song:  Intermeco

Artist:  Robert Miles



Of course...
the most efficient way to teach...
is to illustrate the concept...
show them how to do it...
have them do it.

A problem arises when fear blocks the child from learning...
no matter how relatively easy the activity is.

If his mind is more occupied with fear than with the task at hand...
he will fail.

I won't go into the two basic ways of fear management
that operate on extremes of...
Positive Reinforcement and Punishment...
for they, because of the situation or the self, self regulate.

Positive Reinforcement...
 whether by Passion or other great incentive...
generally overrides the fear...
and so, necessitates no further action.


Punishment...
by having a more fearful...or otherwise painful stimuli applied...
forces the choice of performance of the lesser feared.

Obviously not the choice of tactics...
and so...


There are four basic ways to effectively deal with fear...

Disinhibition

Coping Skills

Fear Nullification

Skill Mastery



Fear Disinhibition...

is simply getting the child used to 
the fearful aspect through repeated 
dosing of the fearful stimuli in fractional...
ever increasing increments.

This is used most often on irrational
fears...where there is nothing to really fear.

It is also often used in conjunction with 
coping skills to get the person past the 
paralyzing aspect of the fear.

Often an ancillary benefit of other techniques...
as with all others...
accumulated successful cycles leads to 
a positive experience through repetition.

It operates on the age old physiological adaptation
process of Supercompensation.

Stimuli, applied hard and long enough...
 forces the body to rebuild stronger...
effectively raising the threshold of tolerance.

Done in small enough steps, it allows adaptation
(starting just above comfort level...not going above tolerance level).

Done repetitiously enough, it allows the tolerance levels
to be raised enough to allow task performance.


Example of application

Irrational fear of clowns.


Starting with talking of clowns...
progressing to pictures of clowns...
having them draw pictures of clowns...
on to having them look at someone dressed
in a clown suit from afar...
on to watching at closer distances...
having them eventually touch the clown...
to having them wear a clown outfit...
finishing up with them performing as a clown.



Coping Skills

Often used in conjunction with fear disinhibition...
as many won't tolerate any stimuli from that which 
is greatly feared without mind distraction.

One way is concentrating on...
or even the monitoring of a physiological process...
such as breathing and relaxation.


Example of application


Having them take a deep breath and 
letting it out in long intervals by saying...
almost inaudibly...
ahhh...
while keeping their hands open.

This diverts their mind and forces relaxation.

When their concentration fails...
as evidenced by the clenching of their hands...
or the holding of their breath...
you will know their tolerance level has been reached.

A way of combining the two processes...
as has been used by martial artists of old...
is using the same relaxation techniques
while experiencing physiological stressors.

Besides being consciously used during their rigorous training...
they would train in a deep stance...
concentrating on keeping their breath flowing smoothly
and their hands open and relaxed while standing underneath
a cold waterfall.

This teaches the body to relax under stress...
as the same physiological reactions occur
when experiencing fear.

This toughens the mind, body, and spirit
to the onrush of the fight or flight chemical 
releases in the body...the ones which cause
the negative and extremely uncomfortable
symptoms

There exists a way of doing the same thing...
in controlled measures... and right at home...
the shower.

Just by adjusting the temperature at successively 
colder temperatures over time...
they can condition their body to not react to 
the physiological responses...
this actually lessens the amount
of stress related chemical output.

Yoga is essentially the same thing..
just using stretching and postural stressors 
while forcing relaxation and breath control
under the said stressors.



Fear Nullification

This attacks the basis of the fear head on.


Much of fear is based upon a perceived lack of control
over a negative scenario which may happen.

By teaching them how to successfully deal 
with the worst cast scenario...
it takes away the fearful aspects.

With the fear taken away...
they are then ready to learn.


Example of application

Learning how to ride a bicycle.


Alex was initially taught how to ride a bike
a few years ago.

While he could barely ride in a straight line...
 he had no confidence in turning, braking and maneuvering.

I chose to attack his problem of fear head on.

He feared falling....
and so...
I taught him what to do in the 
event of a fall...
and then...
I pushed him off the bike.

Of course...
it was done in a controlled and safe fashion.

I had him sit on the bike (on the lawn)...
(I had previously taught him to jump clear of the bike
and land on his feet and roll if necessary)
as I held it.

I had him jump off the bike to one side
and land on his feet.

I also had him shoulder roll to protect his head and arms...
in the event of him being overcome by his rate of travel.

We practiced over and over until he was comfortable with falling.

Before the end of the day...
he was doing figure eights and stopping from speed...
all with confidence.

He now rides with relative ease...
even though he rarely rides.









Skill Mastery

While closely related to Fear Nullification...
it chiefly differs in teaching what to do in a positive scenario...
how to not lose control of the situation to begin with...
how to stay out of a negative scenario.

While both are taught eventually...
Fear Nullification must sometimes 
be used first if the fear of the negative scenario
overrides the learning process of Skill Mastery.


Example of application


Boxing


A good boxing gym teaches not only how to hit...
but how not to get hit...
by bobbing and weaving...
controlling distance...
slipping and parrying...etc.

(Fear nullification...besides damage control...comes in rolling with the punch)

Having the basic skills mastered
before ever stepping into the ring to spar is essential...
as it not only keeps the fighter from becoming gun shy...
it prevents unnecessary injury...
and is a far more efficient way of learning.


Another example of both used in teaching a new skill...
 swimming.

One of the first things taught...
besides having them get used to having their faces 
underwater while holding their breath...
 is learning how to survival float...
then comes wading...
dog paddling...
and on to successively more complicated strokes...
and underwater swimming.

It would neither be smart, nor efficient, teaching...
by throwing them into the deep end without
giving them the basics of swimming.

The same principles apply to all new skills...
be it...
public speaking...
tests of all sorts...
any new skill.

You teach them the concepts
of the skill until they have mastered them.

To have them operate from the beginning with a sense of mastery...
gives them true confidence.

It reinforces their lust for adventure, as they feel fully prepared...
and may operate on a level of excitement, instead of that of fear.

Once they are taught how to conquer fear through the application of concepts...
they will be able to master future challenges.

When the future is no longer looked upon with fear...
and the associated dread...
it becomes nothing but positive...
and so...
seen as wondrous and beautiful.


Instilling a lust for life...
is putting your child in a Positive Spiral.

Having him able to learn how to master his fears...
allows him to stay on the Positive Spiral.

Article On A Positive Spiral


2 comments:

  1. Lot of great points on this post. I think people often think of one or two of the four methods you discuss, but it is important to keep all in mind and know which to focus on depending on the particular situation.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you. Alleviating fears in a child, besides allowing him to perform, builds a deserved deep trust from your child. This is very important to the learning process.

    ReplyDelete

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