- At 2-3 years old, the baby associates sharp sounds with danger, this cause of fear in young children is extremely common.
- Not all parents fully understand how sometimes the eternal fear of darkness is painful for crumbs.
- Many children are instinctively afraid of pets, especially strangers, until they get used to them.
- The causes of fear in children from 4 years old are often associated with developing imagination. The heroes of computer games and films, shadows, dreams, their own embodied fantasies can frighten a child.
- Fears grow up with the children, especially quickly if the kids face grief in the family. From the age of 5, a small person may be afraid of terminally ill, lose a loved one, die.
5 Ways to Help Your Child Overcome Fear
- Protection. It is not necessary to say that there is absolutely nothing to fear. Fear is a natural phenomenon. However, the child should know that an adult is nearby, he will certainly come to his defense, if necessary.
- Understanding. Be sure to tell your son (daughter) that you understand what exactly he (she) is afraid of. The story about a similar, but successfully experienced by you, fear in childhood will be appropriate. Dialogue is needed!
- Lack of ridicule. Never laugh at the fears of your child - children will hide problems because of a sense of shame that threatens the development of a phobia. You risk losing your child’s confidence in adults.
- Optimism. It is proved that the best-scared child is calmed by the low voice of a man - dad, uncle, older brother. Promise your baby calmly and confidently: everything will definitely be fine.
- Promotion. More often remind the children of the victories they won over fears, but in no case - not about failures.
Correction of fears in children
Effective methods of overcoming fear that are successfully used by child psychologists are more associated with influencing the emotions of babies, and not on their minds. For example, if your child is afraid of the dark, it is unlikely that logical convictions will help him that when the light is off, nothing will change in the room. Experts advise to accustom the baby to the dark.
In a "scary" room, the light must be turned off, in others - turned on. Initially, it is recommended that, holding the child’s hand, enter the dark room together and go out if he begins to be afraid. Gradually increase the time of such trips, be patient, and the child will begin to make them on his own and will get used to being in the room he studied.
To help the child overcome fear well helps outplaying a problem situation, once in which the hero emerges victorious. Fairytale therapy comes to the rescue - treatment with fairy tales in which good always triumphs over evil. Find the right stories, think up your own, for example, about a teddy bear who was afraid of a dark forest, but his friendship with a small and brave firefly helped him overcome his fear.
Let the children become actors, use their favorite toy and play various situations. Unaware of this, kids can tell a lot about the causes of bad dreams and nascent phobias in the process of fabulous improvisation.
How to build a fabulous training
1. Draw a fairy tale story in faces or with the help of dolls so that it evokes an emotional response in the child.
2. Build on the experience gained. So, you can give your child a flashlight with which he will climb into the "den" of chairs and blankets. Hang a nightlight in the children's room.
3. Draw conclusions together. The story played must necessarily be associated with a specific problem (for example, fear of entering a dark room).
If you are trying to help your child overcome fear, but you cannot solve the problem yourself, in no case do not allow your son or daughter to acquire an unpleasant phobia for life. Contact an experienced child psychologist, and together you will surely cope with the problem.
The causes of childhood fears
Many children's fears are universal in nature, due to the genetic memory of the dangers that previously awaited the ancient man everywhere. They are not a deviation in the psyche and eventually pass by themselves.
You can trace how children's imagination breeds fears, moving along the predictable path of human development. Seven-month-old babies express anxiety in the absence of a mother or other person caring for them. Eight months are afraid of strangers, which means they are potentially hostile to them, people. As a rule, by the age of two, this alarming reaction to strangers goes away. Only the fear of sharp sounds and impending large objects remains with a person for life.
At the age of two, there is a fear of pain, height, loneliness. Fear of animals and moving vehicles may form.
In 3-5 years, a fear of water, darkness, closed spaces develops. Anxiety can occur in response to the expectation of nightmares. Many children begin to be afraid of negative fairy-tale characters and imaginary monsters. The emergence of such fears is associated not only with a rich childhood imagination, but also with a fear of punishment. With a predominantly strict, authoritarian style of education, the likelihood of such fears increases. The antithesis of kind and affectionate mom and dad are the images of a witch, a wolf, and similar characters. Negative characters serve as a means to supplant all undesirable that is present in the behavior of parents.
At the age of six, the fear of death (of one's and one's parents) becomes leading. It does not always manifest itself directly, often indirectly - in the form of fear of war, disease, attacks, fires, floods, earthquakes as a possible threat to life. Compound the fear of explaining death to the baby as a condition when a person falls asleep and no longer wakes up. The baby may begin to be afraid to go to bed.
Upon reaching school age, old fears tend to wane, but new, social ones develop: fear of being late, getting a bad grade, that is, being disapproved by adults. They are also associated with the instinct of self-preservation, but are provoked by the realization of their dependence on the environment. Here it is important for parents and teachers not to overdo it, imposing so many conventions and prohibitions on the little man that he will become afraid of every failure and any innocent violation of the rules. In adolescence, social fears continue to prevail, but fears of not meeting peer requirements come to the fore.
Also, the development of a phobia can provoke:
- a specific event that frightened him greatly (swallowed water in the pool, a dog bit, a relative fell ill),
- too emotional warning of danger and panic reactions from adults,
- family conflicts, which the child often feels the culprit.
Sometimes complaints about various fears on the part of the child are an attempt to manipulate parents in order to get missing attention and affection from them.
Work with an anxious child
There are many proven ways to rid a child of fears:
- game therapy
- fairy tale therapy
- art therapy
- taking medication
- muscle relaxation.
You can seek the help of a specialist, for example, a hypnologist-psychologist Baturin Nikita Valerievich, or yourself learn the techniques and work with the child yourself.
How to help your child overcome fear and anxiety through muscle relaxation?
Use the following exercises.
- "Fight". Helps to relax the muscles of the face and hands, remove excessive aggression. It is necessary to offer the baby a game. He quarreled with a friend and was preparing for a fight: he took a fighting pose, squeezed his hands into fists, held his breath. And then he thought: “Maybe fighting with a best friend is a bad idea?” He unclenched his fists, exhaled and relaxed.
- "Barbell". Helps relieve back muscle tension. A game of weightlifting athletes with an imaginary barbell lift.
- "Dancing hands." An uplifting and releasing repressed game. Large sheets of white paper are placed on the floor and crayons are chosen for the taste of the child. The kid lies on his back so that his hands are on paper. The music turns on and the baby moves his hands to the beat of the music, leaving colored traces on the sheets.
Try body contact games (“back print”, “blackbirds”, “hands dancing”), massage or just rubbing the body. Another way to relieve nervous tension that the baby will like is to paint the face with paints. You can use my mother’s cosmetics.
How to help your child cope with fears using fairy tales?
Come up with a story that describes the subject of fear of the child, and compose a happy ending. You can even play a whole show using your baby’s toys. By identifying himself with the hero of a fairy tale, who at first is afraid, but then courageously copes with villains and monsters, the child gains confidence in his abilities.
Game therapy to combat childhood fears
The game is a leading psychotherapeutic method in working with preschool children. Role-playing games evoke activity and initiative in the child, help to acquire communication skills, contribute to the development of independence and the ability to control emotions.
If the baby is afraid of medical personnel, play in the hospital. Be sure to give him the opportunity to stay in the role of a doctor. If the child has a fear of the dark, play brave scouts. At some point, the crumb should be given the task of going out for reconnaissance in a darkened room and finding a hidden toy there. After completing the mission, the brave man is given a medal for courage.
Art therapy in the correction of children's fears
Since figurative thinking is leading in preschool age, it is much easier for a child to depict his fear on paper than to describe it verbally. Concretization of fear in the form of a picture helps to get rid of uncertainty and give vent to their negative feelings.
Art therapy makes it possible to touch frightening images painlessly and simulate a way out of this situation. You can offer your child a way to choose:
- destroy “evil” (crumple, tear, burn a picture),
- draw a protective object
- add funny details, giving the monster a funny and ridiculous look,
- tame an object, for example, give a monster a flower and make him smile, feed the dog a sausage,
- draw next to yourself big.
How to remove fear from a child with medication?
The pharmacological treatment of fears in children is of secondary importance. Nootropics (Picamilon, Phenibut) can be prescribed for a baby - substances that help strengthen the nervous system and increase mental and physical endurance at high loads in school. Tranquilizers (Atarax, Phenazepam) are often prescribed to calm hyperactive children. But they only relieve the physical symptoms of a panic attack, but cannot cope with the fear itself.
Even before taking nootropic drugs that are sold over the counter, it is best to consult a psychiatrist first. He will choose the right remedy and the right dosage.
How to help your child get rid of fears through hypnosis
Eliminating childhood fears takes time and patience on the part of parents. With a modern lifestyle, it is not always possible to devote enough attention to the baby in order to completely dispel his fears. In modern psychotherapy, there are methods that help you quickly get rid of anxiety and phobias for both adults and children. This is hypnotherapy. Only 5 sessions with a specialist, and nervous tension and fear go away.
Psychologist's advice on how to rid a child of fears
Mental health depends on how well parents react to a child’s complaints. You can’t take children's fears seriously, no matter how groundless they may seem. It is important that the baby feels understood. In no case do not scold and shame the child for cowardice.
Worrying expectations can be dispelled by a calm analysis of the subject of fear, an expression of firm confidence in the certainty of the events, an authoritative statement about the complete safety of the child. Explain to the baby the reason for his fear.
For example, in the dark it is difficult to distinguish the outlines of even well-known objects. Therefore, they seem alien and menacing. You can go through all the things in the room together and remember their location. Or alternately extinguish and light the light to demonstrate to the baby that the objects remain in the same places unchanged. If a child begins to panic, try to divert his attention by talking, watching something, playing.
Respect the growing need of the baby for independence. Say no only in the most extreme cases. If a child thinks that he knows a lot and knows, he feels much more confident. Often arrange for the baby joint games with peers. It is in group games that the necessary communication skills, self-defense, and an adequate response to failure are acquired.
Keep in mind that very young children are not yet able to control their behavior due to age, so verbal beliefs can be ineffective. In this case, working with fear is better through the game, drawing, telling special tales. Do not overload the child with information that is not appropriate for his age. Exclude watching movies and reading books with scenes of violence, especially at night.
How to understand that a child is tormented by fears
The kid does not always speak openly about his fears - sometimes simply because he still does not know how to talk. It is not necessary to immediately go to a psychologist, because any parent can notice this himself, looking at the behavior of the child.
For example, the English psychologist John Bowlby, known for his work on studying the attachment of a parent and a child, described a system of external signs that he called “indicators of fear”: careful peering, combined with suppression of motor activity, a frightened facial expression, and finding contact with someone.