Education

How to treat fear in children.

Is it normal for children to have fears?

It is normal for children to feel fear sometimes. Fear is an emotion that can help children be careful.New, big, loud, or different things may seem intimidating at first. Parents can help children feel safe and learn to feel comfortable.

What do children feel afraid of?

Children feel fear of changes as they grow. Some fears are common and normal at certain ages.

For example:

1. Children feel strange anxiety.

When babies are around 8-9 months old, they can recognize faces of people they know. This is why new faces can seem intimidating to them – even a new babysitter or relative. They may cry or cling to a parent to feel safe.

2. Young children feel separation anxiety.

At some point between 10 months and two years, many young children begin to fear separation from their parents. They don’t want a parent to leave them at nursery or at bedtime. They may cry, cling, and try to stay close to their parents.

3. Children ages 4 to 6 can imagine.

But they cannot always know what is real and what is not. To them, the fearsome monsters they imagine seem real. They fear what might be under their bed or in the closet.Many fear the dark and bedtime. Some are afraid of frightening dreams. Young children may also be afraid of loud noises, such as thunder or fireworks.

4. Older children fear real life dangers.

When kids are 7 years or older, the monsters under the bed can’t frighten them (too much) because they know they aren’t real. At this age, some children begin to fear things that could happen in real life.They may have a fear of having a “bad guy” in the house. They may fear harm or the death of a loved one. School children may also feel anxious about homework, grades, or getting along with friends.

How can I help when my child is afraid?

When your child feels fear, you can help by doing these things:

• Calm your baby, toddler, or very young child by saying, “It’s okay, you are safe, I am here.”

Let your child know that you are there to protect him. Give him soothing hugs and words to help your baby feel safe.

• As your child gets older, talk and listen.

Be calm and relaxed. Help your child convert feelings into words. Help children try new things.

• Help your baby get used to a new person while holding him and make him feel safe.

Soon, the new person will not look strange anymore.

• Let your child be away from you for short periods of time at first.

When you need to separate from your baby, say you’ll come back, hug and smile, and go. Let your child learn that you are always coming back.

• For your little one who is afraid of the dark, follow a soothing bedtime routine.

Read or sing to your child. Let your child feel safe and loved.

•Help your child face the fears slowly.

For example, together they checked for monsters under the bed. With you there to support her, let your child see for himself that there is nothing to fear. Help her feel her bravery.

• Reduce scary pictures, movies, or shows that children see.

These can cause apprehensions.

Causes of excessive fear in children.

1. Parents’ exaggerated fear of the child when he is exposed to a fall or injury, which causes an increase in the child’s fear of himself.

2. The child’s lack of self-confidence and his ability to overcome various problems and risks on his own, without relying on others.

3. Parents’ mistreatment of the child, and his frequent exposure to threats and severe punishment. The child’s lack of feelings of affection and inclusion from the family.

4. The speed with which the child is affected by his mother or his father, for example: If the mother appears to have a fear of an insect or an animal, this fear will be transmitted directly to her child.

5. The child’s exposure to insults frequently at home or school, which makes him lose confidence in himself, and makes him feel fear towards the outside world.

How to deal with fear in children.

Here are some suggestions that you can try to treat your child’s fear at home.

_ Dealing with a baby’s fears.

You can overcome your child’s fears in a simple and easy way, which is to keep calm when communicating with him, and establish a daily routine that connects you with him, do not distract him in your wide social relationships, and include him in introducing him to the outside world.

_ Dealing with the concerns of older children.

When your child is scared – whether at the age of five or fifteen – follow these guidelines for managing their phobia.

It includes the following:

1. Know your child’s fears.Your child may know what he’s afraid of, but he doesn’t have the words to explain his concerns to you. Asking you specific questions can help encourage him to talk to you.

2. Take his concerns seriously.After you know what your child is afraid of, do not make fun of it, but let him feel that you are taking it seriously, start talking to him about the plan that you will follow to help him overcome his fears, and get to the point where he can manage his fear on his own.

3.Gradual treatment.Many psychotherapists suggest exposing a frightened child to the source of his fear in small, non-threatening doses. You can do this with your child but don’t push it all at once, as this may increase his phobia.

References :

D’Arcy Lyness (7-2013), “Anxiety, Fear, and Phobias”، Kids Health

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