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Got Kids With Irrational Fears?<br/> 5 Powerful Strategies You Should Try

(This article is part of our series on Fear and Worry.)

Childhood Fears: How Parents Can HelpDon’t you think one of the most helpless and frustrating moments as a parent is when our kids have irrational fears, and nothing we say seems to make a difference?

It may be something common like the fear of darkness or monsters under the bed. Or something completely out of ordinary like the fear of ants, or everyday sounds, or imaginary little men living under the nightstand.

How can we help them overcome these fears?

For my daughter, it was an irrational fear of water. Even a splash on her leg from stepping in a puddle made her scream like she’d been cut with a knife. She ran away from dogs because she was afraid they would lick her. I could only bathe her with a sponge in a bucket in front of the TV to distract her. Once, she punched a one year old in the face because she was so afraid the baby would suck on its fingers and then touch her with wet hands.

I had no idea how to help my daughter overcome her fear of water. What help I was able to offer, I mostly discovered by trial-and-error. But recently, I read a book about childhood anxiety that I wish I’d had when my daughter was younger.

The opposite of worry, by Lawrence CohenIn The Opposite of Worry: The Playful Parenting Approach to Childhood Anxieties and Fears by Lawrence Cohen, I found many of the strategies I stumbled on over the years, as well as others I wish I’d thought to try. Cohen explores ways to help kids overcome worry by replacing it with its opposites: things like connection, mindfulness, courage, playfulness, and confidence.

If you have a child struggling with irrational fears, here are 5 things you should try -

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How to Give Your Kids Freedom in a Dangerous World

(This article is part of our series on Fear and Worry.)

Raise you hands if you think we’re raising our kids in a dangerous world…

Kidnappers. Child molesters. School shootings. Bullies. Internet. Rusty nail. Red dye #40.

If you feel like the world is scarier today than when you were a kid, you’re not alone. In a survey of parents in the UK, nearly half said they don’t let their kids play outside because they’re worried about safety.

Are we all turning into overprotective parents?Overprotective parenting has become a lifestyle for many families. When I tell my neighbors that I’d like to let my 6 year old go to the playground without me soon, they’re shocked. If I remind them that I walked all over my neighborhood without an adult when I was just a year or two older than her, they reply, “The world is different today.

But protecting your kids too much is just as dangerous as not protecting them enough. It might seem safer for your kids to spend all their time in supervised, structured activities, constantly observed by qualified, caring adults. But researchers are discovering that kids need more than supervised exercise: they need freedom. They need to organize their own activities, not just follow adult direction. They need to solve their own problems, negotiate the social world of other kids, and regulate their own actions without adult interference.

In other words, they need for us to stop protecting them from everything. They need for us to let them get out in the world, despite the danger.

Because our job as parents isn’t just to protect our kids. It’s also to prepare them for life.

We can’t wait till they’re adults to start practicing; they need to start now to learn the skills they’ll need to thrive and succeed.

Here’s how we can stop being overprotective parents and give our kids the freedom they need to grow.

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The Secret to Letting Go of Parental Guilt Once and For All

(This article is part of our series on Fear and Worry.)

Parental Guilt -- Yikes!Isn’t it amazing how even the smallest things can so unexpectedly trigger a tsunami of guilt in us parents?

The way another mom at the playground rolls her eyes when you pull out a bottle to feed your baby. The shocked look a dad at Target gives you when you hand your toddler candy to get him to sit in the cart. The look in your 6-year-old’s eyes when your temper snaps after her tenth time out of bed after 10 pm.

If you’re like most parents, guilt is your constant companion, right?

But, parenting wasn’t always this hard. Nor did it go hand-in-hand with the feeling of guilt.

As a matter of fact, when I was a kid (and probably when you were, too!), gangs of unsupervised “latchkey” kids biked around the neighborhood in idyllic freedom while their parents were at work. And, when my parents were kids, moms held a cigarette in one hand and a baby in the other while the big kids watched TV all day long, and no one batted an eye. Go back a few more generations, and you’ll find eight year olds running the house and taking care of their siblings while their parents are out farming.

Compared to our ancestors, our kids have it made.

And, this generation of parents might be the best parents in history. We start educating babies before they’re born. We track every developmental milestone throughout their lives. We hover over every failure and rejoice over every success.

How did we get from there to here? If we’re such great parents, why do we feel so guilty? And is there anything we can —or should —do to stop feeling so guilty?
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7 Common Mistakes That Keep Most Parents Unproductive (#3 is the One I’m Most Guilty Of)

(This article is part of the Productivity series. Get free article updates here.)

Let’s face it. No matter how productive we wish and vow to be, as parents, a lot of those good intentions end up down the drains…

Productivity Tips for Parents - Confused MomCooking gets done, but laundry piles up. Kids get dropped off and picked up, but the grocery trip gets nixed. You manage to prepare for that all-important meeting, but just can’t find the time to file that expense report.

I bet you’ve been there at some point or the other.

Have you ever wondered why this happens though? Why is it that we parents seem prone to being unproductive in spite of the desperate need to be as efficient and effective as possible?

Here are some of the common mistakes I believe are the culprits, and some possible fixes. Check it out and see if any of them are bringing you down. And if you have other reasons for your productivity slumps, do let us know in the comments below –

#1 Trying to be a super parent

There are so many times when I’m going about my day that I wonder “What did I do with all my time before having my daughter?”

There seems to be an exponential relationship between the size of your family, and the size of your to-do list – for every new addition to your family, the to-do list multiplies a hundred fold.

Add to that the unreasonable expectations that are placed on parents, either by the world around us, or our own aspirations to be awesome parents, and we trap ourselves in the unattainable goal of becoming super parents. And that doesn’t bode too well for our productivity.

The fix:

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13 Insanely Productive Parents, And a Sneak Peek at Their Favorite Productivity Apps

(This article is part of the Productivity series. Get free article updates here.)

13 Insanely Productive Parents, And a Sneak Peek at Their Favorite Productivity Apps

Do you use any productivity apps on your phone?

Would you like to know what some of the most insanely productive parents are using on their phones?

Me too :)

So, I reached out to a bunch of highly accomplished parents – founders of successful companies, authors of bestselling books, globe-trotting public speakers, high-demand consultants, bloggers who have bigger audience than a regular television station, and in many cases a combination of several of these, all while raising great kids — and asked them two simple questions -

Do you have any favorite productivity apps on your phone? Why do you find yourself using these regularly?

Here’s what they said -

(PS: Do your future self a favor and bookmark this page now. If you have any interest in the topic of productivity, you’ll come back to this page again. And again. And again.)

OK, in no particular order…

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