Ways to Help A Child Overcome Fears
Ways to Help A Child Overcome Fears
Little children always have some little fears. For example, Tan is very enthusiastic when it comes to playing with water and every time she sees wading pools or kiddie pools somewhere, she is always quick to enter in and getting her out is always challenging. However, the same girl does not like getting near a bathtub or even getting in to bath. Whenever the bathtub is mentioned, she will run away and hide herself. It appears as though Tan is frightened by the thought of being sucked into the bathtub hole when the water is being drained. No matter how her parents try to talk logic to her, this irrational fear does not go away and has lingered on for months now.
Another example is Nick, a young boy to whom cycling comes naturally and he loves it. You will always find Nick outside riding a bicycle and getting him into the house is always a problem. However, Nick can venture outdoors to enjoy his rides if there is a dog anywhere in sight. Immediately he sees a dog, he jumps off the bicycle, runs into the house screaming for help. According to Nick, dogs hate little children and therefore he fears that the one he saw will end up biting him if he stays around. His parents find it hard to convince and assure him that the dogs aren’t always cruel and all along, it has become hard to change his fears.
There is nothing to fear
A child may start developing some fears at around the age of 2 years or thereabout. It is easy for kids to be frightened by some things that never seemed harmful to them in the past or those that they had absolutely no fear towards. For instance, it could be the bathtub drain, neighbors’ dog, darkness or even loud noises nearby. There are various factors that combine to develop fear in children at around the age of 2. In most cases, children between 2 and 6 years come across different things that will trigger real pain or fear in them. These triggers could include things such as injuries, being lost or bite from insects or something else. In most cases, children normally have an active imagination and will always struggle with the idea of relating different event or actions to certain outcomes.
A two year old child knows something concerning shape and size, but his or her knowledge is not adequate enough to be sure that he cannot be sucked into the bathtub when the water is draining or even go down the toilet when it is flushed. Children who are a bit older are also aware of the dangers they frequently hear about or those that relate to the things they see on the television. It is therefore difficult for them to differentiate between things that are real and those that are not. To many grownups, the fears they see in children are completely unfounded or baseless. However, to the young kids, monsters lurking in the unlit rooms or under the bed of even frightening noises coming from the dark are very real.
The common denominator
What is the most common fear shared among many small kids? There some very common complaints you will hear from many children and these include: Fear of baths, loud noises, fear of being separated from their parents, fear of cats and dogs, fear of darkness, fear of being flushed through the toilet, fear of falling, etc. it is very common for young children to fear being separated from their parents, even on temporary basis. This is always the first fear wherever you go. This fretfulness about being separated from parents is a clear indication that the child is growing. Before a child turns 2 years, he or she quickly forgets the parents after their departure and that’s the end. However, at the age of 2 or thereabout, the child is caught up in unraveling the puzzles of the parent’s absence.
As the child grows, he or she encounters many other fears most of which are conquered within a few months. However, the fear of darkness remains one of the strongest fears in many children and actually is one of the very last babyhood fears they have to overcome. Toddlers dread snakes and monsters that hide under the shadows in the bedroom or even under the bed. As children progress in age, these fears may remain but be caused by many other things. Older children in most cases will be afraid of thieves, intruders, and burglars. It is not unusual for children around the age of 10 or 11 years to still be attached to the usage of a night light. The exercise is not risky at all. It is such a fear that causes children to sleep with their lights on without risking their health. In many homes, children do not accept to sleep without their night lights and this normally continues all the way until their schooling age. At some moment in time, the child willingly decides that it is okay to switch off the lights thus signaling their ultimate victory over the childhood fears.
According to child psychiatric consultants, it is an ordinary thing for children to go through fears as they grow up. Fortunately, a big number normally outgrows their childhood fears as time unfolds as long as they can receive the necessary support required from their parents. The question that we need to ask is on how you can help your child to handle his fears properly and outgrow them quickly. Below are some important pointers to consider:
- Understand that childhood fears do not grow into a problem unless they keep the child from playing outside, going to school or generally going on with their normal lives. If this does not happen, going through childhood fears is very normal and a part of growth and should therefore not raise any alarms that are out of proportion.
- Work with your kid closely to come up with practical tactics that can be of help in easing his or her fears. For instance, in case your child is afraid of darkness, you can buy him a beautiful teddy bear or install a night light in his room as this might prove to be very helpful.
- Talk to your child and let him or her understand that his fears are not isolated and he is not only one who struggles with fears. It is good to let the child know that you too have some fears. You can go ahead and share some of your fears with the child as a way of helping him or her know that you too (his or her hero) are not immune to fears as well. Let your child know that there is nothing wrong at all in being afraid. You should take time to teach your child that the best way to overcome fears is by coming up with a workable strategy for dealing with the fears.
- Don’t be too pushy on the child or punish him or her in a bid to help him or her overcome the fears. Instead, you should encourage the child and let him/her work on his fears step by step at his own speed. It is important to allow your child to move within his own comfortable steps throughout the process.
- Before prescribing the medicine or the help, take some time and try to understand what could be the real cause of these fears. For example, in case your child afraid of reporting to school, it could be possible that he is afraid of facing a bully in his class or school bus.
- Avoid putting your child down because of the fears no matter how unfounded they might seem to you. These fears might look stupid to you but to your child, it is good to know that they are very real and need to be handled right. Always accept your child’s fears and relate with them from his level.
- Watch your child’s progress and if at all, his fears are growing worse rather than improving, consider seeking professional help. Sometimes it could get to this point no matter how hard you try especially if these fears are deeply rooted in the child. Consulting a child psychologist or psychiatrist could prove very helpful in dealing with these fears.
When dealing with your child’s fears, it is important to remember that you too went through that stage and getting out of it was not that easy. It is also important to keep on reassuring your child and let him of her know that you are there whenever they need you. Such fears do not last forever and with time, you will start seeing some improvements. In fact, some of these fears will disappear without you realizing it. Always be patient and do not worsen the situation by being harsh or shouting at your child.
Here we have lesson to suggest for you to boost your child’s confidence level and subsequently overcome fears:
After the lesson, children will
- acquire increased understanding of others, themselves and the world around them
- develop self-confidence, self-discipline and self-motivation
- acquire understandings and abilities in group processes
- develop abilities in listening, expressing and initiating ideas, negotiating, problem-solving, decision-making and consensus-building
- exercise critical thought and support opinions when responding to ideas
- promote and foster an enjoyment of learning English
- enhance their creativity and ability to think out of the box