Childhood Fears: Keys To Understanding And Overcoming Them

Do you think your child is too afraid? Discover the keys to understand and help in a case of childhood fears.

How to help children overcome childhood fears?

The fears They are a reaction of our body to a situation that is perceived as dangerous or threatening. Thanks to this, our body can prepare for fight, flight or paralysis. It is part of our most primitive brain, since its main function is to guarantee survival, so it is a natural process.

What are childhood fears?

Children can experience fears When faced with different stimuli, depending on their age, they will be more likely to express one or the other. As the child grows, other events that cause fear may occur, such as dreams or nightmares, his own thoughts or mental images (monsters…), going to school, physical pain, going to the doctor, death,…

They can have various fears, even many of them meaningless in the eyes of an adult but for them it can mean having a really bad drink. Fear of being left alone in the room, of the darkness, of a loud noise, of the mother or father leaving and never coming back, of the arrival of aliens… According to a recent study, between 30 and 50 % of children have some intense fear that usually causes them suffering.

The childhood fears They change with age and what scares you today you forget the following year or, for example, something that you don’t feel any fear towards becomes a feeling of fear for no apparent reason. Girls express their fears to a greater extent than boys, with their worst fears being those that have to do with the physical, such as injuries or blows. The main explanation is that girls do not feel ashamed when talking about them, while boys do not want to show this supposed weakness from a young age. During adolescence they are also common, although less than during adolescence.

You may be interested:  Music Therapy in ADHD

Most common types of childhood fears

There are some fears in children which are quite recurrent. For this reason, it is more normal for children to suffer from this type of terror.

1. Specific fear

These are the most common childhood fears. Among them we can find the fear of storms, the fear of the dark in children, as well as any common theme at this age.

2. Agoraphobia

This kind of fear It is much less recurrent in children. It is characterized by the terror of leaving your comfort zone but in a very exaggerated way. In this way, any place that is unknown to the little one makes them act as if they are suffering from a panic attack.

3. Social phobia

When there is a fear of interacting with people in a crowd or even socializing, we may be dealing with a social anxiety disorder. exist children who express it through the phobia of going to school. If this type of attitude exists, you should consult with a psychologist.

The most common causes of childhood fears

What causes childhood fears?

There are some factors that make children more likely to suffer from childhood fear. Therefore, to work on these fears it is important to overcome fears in children.

1. A bad experience

When we meet a child with frequent fear, many times we are faced with a childhood psychological problem. For this reason, it is vitally important to promote good communication with children and, if necessary, consult with a specialist.

2. Bad family relationships

Sometimes these childhood fears They can be preceded by a bad family environment.

3. Genetic factors

There are some cases in which biology can be the precedent for scared children. The imbalance between serotonin and dopamine may be responsible for these uncontrolled childhood fears.

These may be some of the reasons why the childhood fears. Even so, if the terrors are persistent, there may be other reasons.

You may be interested:  Habituation: a Key Process in Pre-associative Learning

What do scared children need?

A scared boy You need to know that you are safe and secure. That the situation is controlled. If we are able to transmit this to him, he will be able to regulate himself. He will achieve this to the extent that he feels that we are by his side, that we accompany him (physically and emotionally). This way you will be able to integrate that experience and learn to manage what scares you.

When a person is afraid, in some way the body perceives some type of danger, so there are bodily symptoms (increased heart rate, sweating, shallow breathing, crying…), which may be of greater or lesser intensity. Under these circumstances, the first thing we can and should do is monitor the child’s physical regulation. To do this we will use our own body, as if it were a support or anchor.

What can you do as a parent about childhood fears?

When the childhood fears are very common in children, we should not rush to worry too much. The most important thing is to approach the problem naturally in order to help children overcome their fears.

1. Detect fear

The first step in helping children with fear is detect what scares you and be available at those times. You must listen and understand why your child is afraid.

2. Empathize

Put yourself in their shoes, empathize with them your child’s feelings. Perceive how he should feel, how you would feel in his situation if you were his age.

3. Transmits security

Let him know that you are by his side, and that you know what needs to be done. That is, that he perceives tranquility, stability and security in you. Your calm will help him. It is very important that you can lean on you and place their trust in you. This is a critical step in developing self-confidence for future situations.

4. Get him to communicate

Facilitating the child’s communication and expression of feelings is vital to face problems. childhood fears. For this it is vital that the little one feels comfortable.

You may be interested:  The 10 Best Master's Degrees in Psychology in Colombia

With these steps you can know how to deal with your children’s childhood fearsEven so, it is essential to discover the reason for these fears. If fear in children is very frequent, the best decision would be to consult a child psychologist.

Errors regarding childhood fears

Most common mistakes regarding childhood fears

Many parents do not know that they are acting badly in front of their parents. childhood fears. For this reason, it is essential to know what we should not do in this situation.

  • Over-rationalize

As adults we may find it disproportionate some reactions, accepting that your child is afraid of that is an important step and learning to understand it without judgment is another. For example, if your child is afraid of needles and you have to vaccinate him, the “if it doesn’t hurt at all” you know perfectly well that he is not going to be of any use. Maybe more like, “I’ll hold you in my arms and I promise I’ll be by your side.”

  • See children as adults

Sometimes we make the mistake, give them many explanationsand they don’t have to understand our adult reasoning.

  • Worry excessively

This is certainly something quite common. Sometimes it happens that we feel so much child’s fear It’s like it rubs off on us, so you start to worry. When the child sees you worried, he becomes more scared, and this leaves you in a loop with no way out. Overprotect them excessively, for example, “because he doesn’t like going to the dentist, I won’t take him.” This attitude only makes children’s fear worse, since children normalize these fears.

  • Transmit our own fears

The best way to make children able overcome fears What they have is to show how we can overcome ours. Therefore, it is vitally important not to show our own fears in front of our children.

The fears in childhood They are very common and generally cause a lot of discomfort to our children. It is important to know that we all have fears, both children and adults. Some stay with us for days, months, even years and others leave just as they come. Not all fears are the same nor do they cause us the same discomfort. There are fears that help us avoid danger, to overcome ourselves and learn from them, and fears that sink us and make us feel insecure and incapable. So what do we do with these fears?

“There are fears that protect us and fears that destroy us.”

JA Marina