How to treat fear in children – Deal with my Child

Fear in children

The child is exposed to many natural fears, and the nature of these fears often varies according to the age of the child, and fear begins to appear in the child from the beginning of his life, as many children are afraid to enter dark rooms and places, and the child often insists on turning on the lights, and many Children are afraid of thunder, or strange sounds in general. These fears and others disappear when the child grows up, and parents can help their children to overcome these fears and get rid of them, and it requires wisdom, patience, and understanding parents, and at the same time, parents must understand some of the actual risks that threaten their children.

Children’s fear of age

Children have many natural fears, and these fears vary according to the age of the child, and in proportion to the extent of his awareness of things, and the following are the most important fears that appear on children in different age groups:

  • Fears that affect a child at the age of two years and under: Many children at this age are afraid of hearing loud noises and strange sounds for the child, as well as fear of separation from parents, fear of strangers, and seeing large bodies and creatures.
  • Fears that afflict the child in the preschool stage (between the ages of three to six years): the child at this stage is exposed to fear of seeing imaginary things, such as: monsters, ghosts that he sees on TV, supernatural beings, masks, as well as fear of the dark, and sleep Alone, and if he hears a strange sound, especially during the night, such as the sound of thunder, he may feel afraid.
  • Fears that afflict school-age children (between seven to sixteen years): At this age, the child begins to fear real things, such as: his fear of being injured or injured, as well as fear of a doctor, an angry teacher, and fear of school achievement, And from death, and natural accidents: earthquakes, floods, and others.

It is worth noting an important point, which is the children’s fear of going to school; This is due to their attachment to their parents, and their unwillingness to separate from them. This problem is common among children between the ages of five to seven years, and this does not apply to older children; Because they are somewhat more aware, and other reasons for a child to be afraid of school is the bad and harsh treatment that he finds there, and the presence of teachers or even unfriendly colleagues.

Causes and causes of fear in children

Fear in children has many causes and reasons, including:

  • The child is exposed to things and situations that he cannot explain, so the child feels threatened by these things, and we may find a child who is not afraid of things that frighten his other brother or sister.
  • What the child sees from the reactions of others towards something, where the child feels fear when he sees the reaction of an adult to something, or even another child, when he sees a snake or a lion, for example.
  • A child’s vision of a frightening and painful event, such as a child witnessing a horrific traffic accident, or a cat run over by a car, it is normal for the child to feel afraid, as these types of accidents remain stuck in the child’s mind until he grows up.
  • Lack of respect for the child and lack of his personality, many of the behaviors that come out of the parents or family members may destroy the child’s personality, reduce his respect, and even make him not respect himself, and lose confidence in him, so parents and family members should support the child, enhance his self-confidence, and make him feel his self-worth so that the child avoids fear.
  • Permanent family problems, permanent family problems expose children to tension and make them vulnerable to fear, and this is an important problem that the family must address and avoid to preserve their children.
  • The anxiety that the child suffers from is due to his level of fear of past events, and the capacity of his imagination, as there are many children characterized by a wild imagination that they are afraid of.

Tips for parents

Dealing with the child’s fear problem is very important, and the child’s age and awareness of what is happening around him must be taken into consideration. The most important advice is the following: [2]

  • Dealing with the problem wisely, respecting the child’s feelings of fear, and avoiding ridicule of him, his feelings, or the source of his fear, and this must be taken seriously.
  • Do not try to spare the child from exposure to the source of his fear, as the complete avoidance of the sources of fear is not the best solution to the problem, and at the same time the child should not be forced to endure what he cannot bear because of fear, but he must face his fear gradually.
  • Parents must accept their child’s fear, and understand it logically; Providing full support to the child, and working to reassure him and raise his morale.
  • A parent must speak to the child confidently and calmly. The manner of speaking and talking to the child about the problem of his fear is very important, and allowing the child to talk about his fear helps him to overcome it.
  • Some fears are good for the child. When parents warn their child not to accompany strangers – for example – this child will know when he grows up a little the truth of this matter, and his awareness of this fact will increase; Because some people are really bad. The older the child, the greater his understanding of truth and fiction, and the cause and effect of things around him, and eventually the child will overcome most of his fears, or they will disappear on their own.

How to face fears

Confronting the child’s fears is very important, and it is the best way to overcome them. Parents should teach their child how to confront his fears, by giving him skills that make him feel that he is able to control his fears. Among these skills are the following: [1]

  • Teaching the child in different ways the degree of fear they have, such as using a gradation from 1-10, where the number is one for the least fearful situations, and the number 10 for the most fearful situations, and every time the child is exposed to the source of fear, his feeling of fear will gradually decrease if he evaluates the degree of fear over and over again.
  • Teaching the child to encourage himself when exposed to sources of fear, such as using positive and motivational phrases, such as: “I can do that!”, or “It will be OK,” and others.
  • Teaching the child different mechanisms and methods of relaxation, such as taking a deep breath, or imagining himself floating on a cloud, or lying on the seashore, and teaching him how to turn a scary monster into a funny monster, and so on.

When will children be cured of fear?

When parents feel that their child is not in his nature and that his fear negatively affects his life, and the practice of his usual activity, such as going to school, playing with the rest of the children, or preventing him from sleeping, or when the child is exposed to great stress caused by fear, and in this case, the child must be taken To a psychiatrist who specializes in treating children.

How is fear treated in children?

The method in which fear is treated in adults is often used to treat children, and among these methods are the following:

  • Exposing the child to the situations that he is afraid of gradually, and it is important to reveal the child’s old records and to know what he was afraid of before starting treatment.
  • Not punishing the child for his fear may increase his fears; Rather, it may lead him to suppress his feelings, and this leads to serious consequences for the child, so parents should avoid this bad method and replace it with supporting the child, and developing his ability to face fear.
  • Doing stimulating activities with a frightened child, for example, parents and their child play with the things he is afraid of, so the monster is in the form of a toy because children are more responsive when playing.
  • When the child is very afraid, then the person who treats the child uses relaxation methods, as well as shows videos that encourage him to confront his fear imaginatively.

Video of how our fear is formed

To learn more about how our fear is formed watch the video.

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