Question from member: What do I do to help with being afraid? My daughter is afraid to go upstairs alone, and afraid to shower without anyone in the bathroom, etc. It makes it challenging because I know she is capable of doing things independently but she refuses. She is afraid to be alone upstairs if we are downstairs.

Reply from Rachel:

I know frustrating this is! We’ve had to work through this a couple of times in my house.

Very generally, fear needs to be worked through in baby steps. While you’re making those baby steps, kids need some sort of comfort strategy and some feeling of control.

So I’d have her find something that comforts her (sing a song in her head, hold a stuffed animal, give herself a tight hug, whatever she chooses and is willing to use). Then you gradually increase either the distance you will be away from her or amount of time before you come back… Let her have as much of a say in the plan as possible.

So I’d say that you want to set a boundary (we need to get you used to being alone), then have her make a plan for how it’s going to happen. Include her suggestions for what she wants you to do if she doesn’t follow the plan.