Does your kid have a fear of something? Did it start with them being a little scared of something and turn into an uncontrollable anxiety about their fear? Babies are born with only two fears the fear of falling and loud noises. Fears in young children are usually brought on either by a traumatic experience, or when they are replicating the fears of their parents, friends, or relatives.
What is an irrational fear?
An irrational fear is a phobia of something, or a situation, that compels them to avoid it despite the fact it will not harm them. It is a strong fear that results in your child feeling anxious and upset with the situation every time it happens or they see it. If a child’s irrational fear is not dealt with then there is the chance it might stay with them throughout their childhood and into adulthood.
Common fears in children
Toddlers can have a number of fears such as separation, noises such as the vacuum cleaner or thunder, and animals. Pre-schoolers often develop fears as they get older such as monsters, the dark, ghosts, and animals. Kids between the ages of six and 12 usually have bigger fears as they start to learn more about the world. They can fear death, separation, divorce, war, monsters, and the dark. Teenagers are more likely to fear war, divorce, or sexual encounters. Their fears only become phobias when they repeatedly become upset by it and it has an effect on their daily lives.
If your child’s phobia is extreme then it might cause them to have a panic attack. An attack can cause your child to shake, sweat, and lose control of their breath. They might feel dizzy, feel their heart pounding and feel nauseous. If you think your child is having a panic attack then stay at calm as you can, ask them to take deep breaths and give them your hand for support. You should seek the support of a doctor or a health professional if they are suffering with panic attacks.
How to help them overcome the fear?
You should always listen to your child and ask them about why they are scared.
Never tease your child or make fun of their fear not matter how trivial it might seem to you.
Look for ways to make it easier for them and encourage them to overcome the fear. You should find ways to face the fear together in small doses – for example, if they are scared of dogs then take them to visit puppies and show them how small and playful they are, if they fear bugs then take them to a pet shop and look at some little critters etc. Always tell them what you have planned beforehand and if they become anxious or extremely upset then revisit the idea at a later date.
Don’t be overprotective especially if you share the same fear. Ask you partner, relative, or a friend to support you both and help your to child to overcome the fear.
Never coerce them in to a situation to confront their fear as you may only make it worse.
If you have your own fears then consider your own behaviour as your child is likely to become of afraid of it too.
If the fear is disrupting your child’s daily routine for example, lack of concentration, lack of sleep, avoiding a certain place or situation, then consult a doctor or health professional for advice.
Does your child have an irrational fear? What have you done to help your child overcome their fears?