Fears are natural and actually keep us safe. They can stop us from acting too dangerously or recklessly. However, fears can at times be debilitating and that’s when they become problematic.
As a child, were you afraid of the shadows in the closet? Or scared of lightning and thunder? Did you think that there were creatures under your bed?
In childhood fears are completely normal. They arise at certain times in development and tend to diffuse in intensity as the child ages. The three-year old who is afraid of the dark and must sleep with a light on may enjoy a slumber party in the dark at age 10. The four year old who thinks clowns are scary may love magicians as a teenager. The child who hates injections may become a nurse or a doctor as an adult.
Here are typical fears by age:
- Babies are afraid of loud noises, large objects and experience stranger anxiety, clinging to parents when faced with a new person. At around 10 to 18 months, toddlers experience separation anxiety and become distressed when the parent leaves.
- Kids ages 3 through 6 fear imaginary things like monsters, ghosts, and supernatural beings, as well as the dark, noises, sleeping alone, thunder, floods and anything else scary that could harm them.
- Kids ages 7 through 16 often have more realistic fears like getting injured, getting sick, losing a loved one, failing a test, dying from an accident, or natural events like floods, hurricanes and earthquakes.
What can you do as parent to help allay your child’s fears?
- Don’t tell your child that he is crazy . To your child, the fears are real. Talk about the fear with your child and let him know that you are there to protect him from any harm. Use fluffy dolls and tell your child that these dolls will protect him. Dream catchers are good to use for when your child has bad dreams. Telling stories about how you used certain dolls or toys to overcome your fears when you were a child help too.
- At the same time, don’t cater to fears. If your child is afraid of dogs, for example, don’t avoid going to a friend’s house who has a dog. If your child becomes afraid, keep her close to you to provide support so she feels protected. Teach her coping strategies. Using you as a safe home base, see if she will allow the dog closer and even pet it. Point out how gentle the dog is with other children. Teach her positive self-talk. For instance, “I can pet Max. I can do it. I am safe. He won’t hurt me. I will be okay.” Teach him how to use his imagination to allay his fears. For instance, if he becomes terrified of the friend’s dog, encourage him to put the fear inside a balloon and burst it, or put it on a cloud and watch it float away.
- Some children seem relatively fearless while more sensitive children will be more fearful and need more parent support.
- If you are a parent of an empath, your child will be highly sensitive, and might fear clowns, get startled easily, have separation anxiety, get distressed by changes in the weather, especially storms, in fact your precious one will have many fears, as she is easily picking up the energy around her and you will have to be especially caring and nurturing with her.
If you have a child who has fears. “Taking a C.A.B. to Happy land : Help your child to relax and discard their negative thoughts” is a great resource for you.
You can find it on amazon at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B014QDXRWE
Or on my website www.lynnewoolfson.com.au
copyright 2015@lynne woolfson