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Ashling Kwok, author of The Battle; an empowering story on childhood anxiety, shares her expertise on how to sensitively and effectively manage children’s fear associated with going to school. We also have some super handy tips and strategies for parents in the same boat. Thanks, Ashling! x
Fears are a common part of childhood and can appear at any age. My son developed a fear of going to school when he was 11. Up until then he’d been a popular kid who didn’t have a care in the world. Then one day, without explanation, his whole world fell apart.
While my natural instinct was to pull him out of school and smother him with love, I knew that this would do him more damage than good. Instead, I had to help him find the courage to fight his fears and go to school, even though it was the last thing he wanted to do.
We talked about what the word courage actually means. That it doesn’t mean being fearless. It means doing the things we fear most, even though we’re terrified. We also discussed the power of the mind and how our fears can make us see things that aren’t really there. After months of work, my son was able to overcome his fear and is back to being the joyful soul we used to know.
Watching my son go through this experience made me think about all of the children who battle fears on a daily basis, and before I knew it, the idea for The Battle was born. The Battle is the story of a little boy named Edward who is anxious about starting knight school. He’s sure that it will be full of ogres and dragons so he puts on his armour and prepares for battle. It is only when Edward finds the courage to push through his fear that he realises that the dragons and ogres he imagined don’t actually exist. They were figments of his imagination brought on by his fear.
Writing this book was a cathartic experience and I hope it helps children understand that being brave and showing courage doesn’t come in the way of grand gestures like fighting dragons or being a superhero, it’s about taking small steps every single day. Tiny steps that push us outside our comfort zone and help us live a happy and fulfilling life.
Article by Ashling Kwok
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Ashling Kwok lives in Sydney’s North Shore, a magical place with lush green landscapes, beautiful flowers, and kookaburras that wake her up every morning at the crack of dawn.
She spends her days dreaming up new ideas, working on my latest manuscripts, and browsing local bookstores, marvelling at all the wonderful books created by talented children’s authors.
When she’s not writing you’ll find her taking her very energetic border collie, Jed, for a walk or hanging out with her husband and two children. Ashling also enjoys spending time with friends and making the most of every single moment.
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