Confronting Fear: Stage FrightJuly 22, 2014
By Jessica Vician
As your child prepares for another year in school and continues to advance his or her academic knowledge, your child will also continue to build confidence. However, there is a larger entity that can halt your child’s confidence level and prevent him or her from moving forward in certain achievements: fear.
While your child is learning many new skills and more information, he or she is also learning about perception and the value of being liked by others. Sometimes, the fear of being rejected by his or her peers can cause a child to retreat and avoid certain activities that put him or her at risk for those negative feelings.
One of the most popular fears that develops and continues to exist in adulthood is stage fright, or the fear of performing or speaking in front of others. An important step to overcoming any fear includes determining what the fear is really about so you can address the cause.
Common fears associated with stage fright include:
- Being made fun of by peers.
- Showing vulnerability to others.
- Making a mistake and being seen as less than perfect.
If your child has stage fright, try these approaches to help him or her overcome the fear:
- Build confidence. If the child is confident in the subject matter he or she is speaking about or performing and trusts that skill, he or she will be less likely to fear making a mistake.
- Practice. In order to build that confidence, the child should practice speaking or performing in front of small groups of people that eventually grow larger. Start by having your child speak or perform to you, then close family, then a larger group of family friends.
- Focus. Remind your child to focus on the speech or performance, not on their fear, not on the things that could go wrong, and not on doubting him or herself. Your child should practice this positive concentration during rehearsals and during the actual event.
Just as it’s important to practice a speech or performance, it’s also imperative to practice these techniques. If your child has a severe case of stage fright, it may take many speeches and performances to overcome the fear. However, by addressing the true causes of the fear and practicing techniques to resolve and overcome them, your child can beat stage fright and build confidence that will last through adulthood and for his or her lifetime.