Childhood Fears and Phobias – How to Deal with Them?
childhood children can display a fear of many things. This fear can take on
different forms, but it’s especially a fear of the unknown that children find overwhelming.
This may include fear of darkness, big animals, loud sounds and separation from
parents. Such fears and phobias are normal and to an extent may even be
considered helpful as a small amount of fear is important to induce caution in a
child when growing up.
At times, the kind of fear that a child displays can be anticipated and understood. For example, a fear of the dark or fear of being left alone in a dark room is quite common. Many toddlers find it difficult to sleep in a room of their own due to such fears.
Other fears can sometimes puzzle adults. Toddlers have been known to react unpredictably to toys, especially ones that move. Such fears, while they cannot be anticipated, should immediately be quelled and the child returned to a state of safety.
As a parent, there is much that you can do to help ease such fears and anxieties during your child’s growing up years. The following tips can be a starting point towards building a secure and fear-free environment for your toddler:
Comforting your child is the first step. When they begin to notice and understand the world, you are the first person your children trust. You are a manifestation of safety, security, love and belonging for them. Reassure them with your presence and help them feel that together you can fight and overcome whatever they fear.
Use words and gestures that induce comfort. ‘It’s ok. I am here’ helps more than you know. A hug also works wonders.
As your child grows up, help them find the words to express their fears. Understand what they are feeling. Let them articulate as you sit silently and listen. Speaking aloud about fears helps annihilate them.
Bit by bit, help your children confront their fears. Put them in uncomfortable situations which are still under your control. For example, nudge them into making friends with new people such as friends and relatives that you trust. Or, create a situation where your toddler has to spend time away from you.
In case of specific fears, confront them together to dismiss and dispel them. For example, look together for monsters under the bed. Show your child that there are none. Then chuckle and celebrate together. Help build confidence and courage in your child.
In case of persistent fears and phobias, which may border on the irrational, consult an expert. Early recognition and therapeutic treatment of phobias can help erase them before they blow up into big, persistent issues. Remember, whenever you are clueless, knock on the door of an expert.
Dealing with fears and anxieties is an important part of ensuring a safe and healthy mental well-being of your child. A bond of care, trust and positive nurturing is all that your child needs to fight off the demons inside their brain, and slay the phobias coming in the way of happy and healthy growth.