Fear is normal, we all have it, it is part of our existence. It activates our body's warning signs when faced with dangerous situations. The most intense fear is detected in childhood, as the child grows up.
How can you help your kid face his fear?
The most difficult thing is to know how to act when facing the fears that emerge from the first years of life. To do this, parents must identify the limit between normal and exaggerated fear. According to the psychologist and consultant Maria Tereza Maldonato, the ideal is to seek balance, meaning that the lack of fear exposes the child to a world of risk and its excess ends up pushing the child to close himself off from the world.
What is expected is that the child learns to deal with his fears and not be dominated by them. Parents are expected to be attentive to the signs their children are showing, and to know how to talk about what they are afraid of. It is important for the child's oral expression, but he must remember that he does not always express himself through speech.
Excessive fear can cause symptoms such as abdominal pain, heart palpitations, nausea, lack of control when peeing, leaving the child totally out of control. Situations in the child's daily life, such as school, going to the doctor, getting vaccinated, among others, can promote the emergence of fear. It is important for parents to know the source of the fear and how to deal with it, in order to better help them overcome this feeling.
Manage and understand his fears?
Never use a child's fear as a tool of authority or power. Never leave your child alone in dark places. This will only make it worse. These are attitudes that will not help your child deal with his fears; When going to unfamiliar places, such as school, a friend's house or the doctor's office, allow your child to pick a familiar object to bring with him. This will give a feeling of security, because after all, the child will have something he or she shares with the family;
Use strategies to distract them from their fears and try to encourage them to talk about it naturally and without exaggeration; Encourage your child to tell the truth about their real fears. Lying won't help him face his fears; he needs to build up notions about the real dangers.
Fear of going to bed (and of the dark)
While before there was no problem for your child to fall asleep in the dark with the door closed, as your child grows older, he or she asks you to leave the door open a little and leave the light in the hallway on. Don't panic, this fear is common among children because going to bed can be a difficult time for them: fear of the dark, of being alone, of not seeing you... But some solutions can be put in place so that they can better control the situation.
Setting up a bedtime ritual: This little ritual will allow your child to gain a sense of security and confidence. Yes, but how do you create a ritual? Nothing could be simpler, you can plan before he goes to bed to read stories, give him a hug, sing a song or give him massages to help him relax. For children with autistic disorders, you can also set up a routine with pictograms.
Avoid screens before bedtime as they tend to over-stimulate children before they go to sleep.
Arrange a room so that your child feels like a cocoon and therefore safe. It's important to know your child's needs and what makes them feel safe. Don't hesitate to talk with him about what disturbs him in his room; the darkness, the position of the bed, the silence, the fact of being alone... So for every need, there are solutions. For the fear of darkness and shadows, you can get a night light that diffuses a nice soothing light.
Fear of noise
Fear of noise is a fairly common fear among younger children. It is generally found around the age of one year. This fear is related to the unknown because your child does not know and does not recognize all the noises that surround him. Here are a few ideas to tame this fear:
First, explain where the noise comes from and show him the object so that he can understand and recognize the noise that terrorizes him.
Discuss the fear with your child: It is important to discuss the fear with your child so that he can put into words what he is feeling and then be able to confront it.
Imitate the noises that frighten him: don't hesitate to make certain noises again to make it more fun and reassuring. For example, if your child is afraid of dog barking, make them again with him/her with a voice or funny faces.
How to deal with fear
Identify your child's fear signals in order to recognize his behaviour when he is afraid but also the source of the fear. These signals can be when he is hiding, when he closes his eyes, when he huddles up against you. Recognizing these signs will allow you to put in place the necessary actions to help him manage his fears.