Being fearful is very common behavior in human beings. It might be little easy for adults to handle their fear, they can not only verbalize what is troubling them but also seek professional help. However, in the case of children, they are unable to verbalize their fear properly and ask for professional help. As a parent, it is your responsibility to check whether there is fear in your child or not, and in case your child is fearful, you need to understand what your child is afraid of.
Understanding Fear in Children
Fear might be very common in some children. Genetic susceptibility might be the reason behind this. Children who are sensitive and emotional are more prone to fear. Children whose parent/s is anxious also are very fearful because they easily imitate from their parents.
If the parents are over protective, it is very likely that children will be growing in constant fear. When the children are too much dependent on their parents, the feelings of helplessness become very common in them. This can even lead to generalized anxiety disorder.
Fear becomes common if the children are in stressful situations. For example, children are fearful when they are separated with their parents, get injured, exams are nearing etc.
Common Fears in Children
As the child begins to learn things, the list of their fears also grows. Some fears are real, for instance the fear of dark, burglary, war, separation, injury are real fears. Some fears are unfounded, for instance fear of monster, ghosts, witches etc.
It is rather easy to deal with the real fears in your child. Let your child understand that you take their fears seriously and they are always there to rescue them when needed. Provide information on the things that they are afraid of. For instance, you can tell them the realities about dark, war, burglary, separation etc. If your child is afraid of intruders, you can ask them to shut doors and windows and tell them that they are perfectly safe. If your child is afraid of insects, teach them about the insects through pictures and videos.
If you are dealing with unfounded fears like super natural beings, tell your child that such things do not actually exist. By letting them understand ghosts and monsters do not exist in real, you will help your child confront their unfounded fears.
Overcoming Anxiety and Fear in Babies
Fear is not endemic to older children, even the babies as young as five or six months old also show fear. By the time babies are 5-6 months old, they form a strong bonding with their parents or care givers. Separation, even for a short time, from the parents/caregivers will bring fear in babies. They begin to cry. Some babies enjoy the company of special people (parents, care givers) and when they are separated from these special people they develop anxiety and fear. Babies are also afraid of strangers and when they are in the company of strangers they being to cry.
This kind of fear is temporary in most of the babies. However, if you want to overcome the fear of separation from special people or fear of stranger in your baby, talk to them as much as you can. Also, allow your baby to hang with other people as well. If you see any trace of anxiety in your baby, fill them with assurance. You should never leave your baby crying because it will only worsen their anxiety.
Overcoming Fear and Anxiety in Preschoolers
When the children reach two to three years, they begin to learn to cope with their common emotions like anger, pain, fear etc. One of the common fears in toddlers and preschoolers is related to being overwhelmed with powerful emotions. Since the toddlers already begin to understand things, they also develop fear of irrational things like slipping in the bathroom (that’s why they refuse to go to bathroom alone), fear of dark (that’s why don’t want to switch off the light when they go to bed), fear of loneliness, fear of cockroaches etc.
You can help your toddler overcome such irrational fear by encouraging them speak about their fear and helping them understand that such fears are unfounded. You should never force your child to confront their fear because this might worsen the situation.