I recently received review copies of my favorite parenting expert’s latest books, Raise Your Kids Without Raising Your Voice and The Fear Fix- Solutions for every child’s moments of worry, panic and fear. While I was very excited to read “Raise Your Kids Without Raising Your Voice” uchum, for obvious reasons, The Fear Fix was on a back burner. Then, a few weeks later, the school year began with my 3rd grader developing a phobia of bees. Actually, of the wasps that were swarming around the entrance of his school. His fear was so severe that his teacher had to call me in one day to help convince him to go outside (to get home). I remember once hearing a saying, “the refuah is always given before the makka” translated that means that G-d always sends the cure before he sends the ailment. In my case this was literally true. Sitting on top of my “To Do” pile was nothing other than, The Fear Fix – solutions for your child’s phobia! What a relief! I quickly read through The Fear Fix and began applying many of its suggestions and within one week, his phobia was reduced to a mild anxiety and within a month, his mild anxiety was pretty much gone (and so, finally, were those pesty scary wasps!).
Author Sarah Chana Radcliffe also allowed me to review her audio class on using Bach Flower Remedies. As an avid user of essential oils (I use them for healing colds, back aches, in my own home-made deodorant, moisturizer and cleaning solutions), I was very excited to learn about these complimentary products. After listening the the tape and reading The Fear Fix, here is a short summary of the steps I took to help my son overcome his bee phobia.
1. The day I was called into school, I had recently finished the Back Flower Remedies audio class and had a brand new bottle of “Rescue Remedy” in my purse. I put a few drops of it in my son’s water bottle and told him that the drops were supposed to help him feel less anxious about the bees. He liked that idea a lot. Whether Rescue Remedy actually did the job of calming him or if it was a simple Placebo Effect, can be fodder for pages and pages of discussion, but for my purposes, regardless, it was working! Giving him a ‘remedy’ definitely helped him feel calm and happy the rest of the day.
2. I bought “Mimulus Flower Remedy” and began giving drops to my son four times a day, as recommended in the tape. I chose Mimulus because it was the remedy for ‘fear of specific things like dogs, lightning, etc…”. My son had a specific fear of the wasps. Again, he immediately seemed calmer and more secure at the idea of walking through the doors to his school, even though there were wasps flying around.
3. I began using techniques from the book that Radcliffe calls, a “fear soothing toolkit”. Some techniques in this toolkit are: emotional coaching, parental presence, redirecting attention, move fear with facts, gradual exposure, using positive imagination, along with other techniques such as teaching emotional regulation, ‘tapping’ and Bach Flower Remedies. Since I completed an MSW four years ago, some of the techniques were familiar to me, but the book was definitely an excellent review to remind me of the techniques and how to use them. I began with ‘emotional coaching’ then moved on to ‘moving the fear with facts’ as well as ‘using positive imagination’. We showed my son some age appropriate bee pictures and videos (one of which was a man with a beard full of bees that my son found to be so incredibly funny that he laughed about it for days) and helped him become a mini bee ‘expert’. He knows all the types of bees, wasps and hornets that can be found along with how painful their stings are.
4. Today, my son seems to be over his fear of the wasps. Next bee season; however, I may have to apply some of the techniques over again of he gets jittery around bees and wasps - but I’m pretty sure the phobia piece is completely gone. I continued the Mimulus Flower Remedy for a few months, even once he was past the wasp fear because I felt it helped him feel less anxious and more secure overall. Whether the remedy has true efficacy or if it is a placebo again doesn’t matter because the Bach Remedies are perfectly safe and have no side effects – so if its merely a security blanket, I’m all for it.
I really enjoyed reading The Fear Fix - it was a great primer (or in my case review) for using simple yet extremely effective therapeutic techniques to help you raise emotionally healthy children. Sarah Chana Radcliffe is a well educated professional and parenting expert whose guidance and material is, in my opinion, top notch. For more information about using Bach Flower Remedies, you can visit Sarah Chana Radcliffe’s website . There is also a section on using the Bach Remedies in The Fear Fix, along with great overall parenting coaching techniques that are useful to all parents – whether dealing with a dominant fear or not. Radcliffe’s books can all be found on Amazon and “Raising Your Kids without Raising Your Voice” was rated as one of Amazon Editors’ favorite books of the year.