CHILDHOOD FEARS AND ANXIETIES
Fears are a normal part of growing children. They seem to be afraid of a lot of things.
From time to time, as they grow every child experiences fear.
Fears are a normal emotion.
Most of the children between ages 4 and 12 show many fears and concerns. Fear of darkness; particularly being left alone in the dark, is one of the most common fears in this age group. So is fear of animals, such as large barking dogs. Or cats or lizards. Some children are afraid of fires, high places or storms.
As parents, we have to keep in mind the children may or may not tell us what worries them. So we have to look for expressions or signs that give us a clue of any symptoms of their worries. Like:
Sleep disturbances: Difficulty to sleep alone. They find difficult to go to sleep.
Avoidance to go to school or taking exams, refusing to listen, too stubborn to move
Nervousness: Nail biting, falling ill frequently,
WHAT CAN PARENTS DO?
It is the parents’ responsibility to teach children the coping skills. These skills can help them deal with whatever troubling situation they may face. It would be better that we help our kids to practice these skills regularly. If they can convert these skills into helping habits, they can be used for their future lives.
Don’t ignore their fears. Pay attention to what they are saying that is troubling them. Don’t shoo away their fears. Try to understand fears through the eyes of their age. Once you understand the main cause of their anxieties, you can teach them ways and skills to help them cope.
Fears can be transmitted. Like when parents fear darkness, they can also find their child trembling along with them. Children always watch parents and whatever our dominant fears and anxieties could pass on to children.
Try to check, monitor and control TV consumption. Images from movies, music videos, and internet, and television news, stories can instill fear at disproportionate levels. It’s important to monitor the child’s TV watching habits, especially what they are watching before going to bed.
Recognize that your child’s fears are real. You shouldn’t ridicule, underplay, or trivialize, or ignore your child’s fears. Don’t lecture or use logic to silence them. All these wouldn’t help the child’s fears to disappear.
Support them. Help your child feel safe. Your words have enormous comforting power. Use them generously so that they feel safe and comfortable.
Encourage the child to speak about his worries. If he is encouraged to speak about his fears assuring good attention of adults allows him to feel that his fears are manageable. The fears never should grow out of proportion in your child.
Since fears are a normal part of life and often are a response to a real or an imagined threat in the child’s environment, parents should be reassuring and supportive
The simple, sensitive and straightforward parenting can help resolve or at least manage most childhood fears.