fear not

Spring is here and as more people crowd the streets to enjoy the fair weather, along with them come dogs of every shape and size. This can be a big drag for kids who have a fear of dogs. And for their friends and relatives. We asked the authors of a new book, Monsters Under the Bed and Other Childhood Fears; Stephen W. Garber, Ph.D., Marianne Daniels Garber Ph.D., and Robin Freedman Spizman to give some tips to help those trying to overcome this very common fear.

My little brother always screams and runs when he sees a dog, no matter where we are. I get embarrassed, because I'm not afraid of dogs. How can I get him to stop?
Your little brother needs your help, and maybe your parents' help also. You must understand your brother is not trying to embarrass you. He cannot help his reaction to dogs. His fear is real. Tell your brother that you would like to help him get over his fear. If he is willing, here are some steps that might help.

REMEMBER TO BE PATIENT. The use of imagination, information, observation and controlled exposure can help your little brother overcome his fear of dogs and can be used to tackle other fears as well.

Stephen W. Garber Ph.d., is a practing psychologist and director of the Behavioral Institute of America.
Marianne Daniels Garber, Ph.D., is an education consultant also in practice with her husband.
Robyn Freedman Spizman, mother of two, has published widely on enhancing children's learning and creative motivation.

Monsters Under the Bed and other Childhood Fears is published by Villard Books.

- first published in the May/June 1993 issue of ZuZu

illustrations courtesy of the Brooklyn Friends School


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