How To Deal With Fear In Children

July 05, 2021


Photo by Igordoon Primus on Unsplash

Just like with adults, kids can experience phobias too. It’s perfectly normal for children to become afraid of certain things as they grow up and try and make sense of the world. As parents or carers, it’s our job to help them through it, even when it feels like there isn’t anything we can do. 

Common fears

As your baby begins to develop, they can start to experience different fears. This often starts as being scared of strangers or anyone that isn’t their parents or siblings. This is often when they turn into what some parents call ‘velcro babies’. 

As your baby begins to become more independent in some ways, they still might feel uncomfortable being away from their parents. They’ll struggle to connect with other adults and maybe scared of doctors or dentists. This is where having a dentist that is used to dealing with children such as is helpful in getting them through this stage. 

Once their imaginations start to develop, kids can start being afraid of things that aren’t there, like monsters under the bed or the dark. Their imagination starts making them believe that things are there that shouldn’t be, or they suddenly become scared of weather or noises. 

As they get older, children can start to worry about real-life dangers and are particularly susceptible to things that they see and hear on TV and around them. They could become scared of losing a family member or getting hurt. At this point, they could also become scared of social situations or school. 

As the teenage years approach, we can probably start to empathize with our children more as their fears tend to take on a very real-world approach. They might feel anxious about making friends, how that looks, or exam results. 

What can you do to help?

While fears are a natural part of growing up, they still need to be acknowledged and addressed in order to help your child feel safe and secure. When they are a baby, cuddles and a soothing voice are usually all that is required. 

As they get older, help them by comforting them and talking about their fears. It’s easy to dismiss them but don’t let your child think their feelings don’t matter by minimizing their feelings. 

If your toddler is afraid of other adults, stay with them while you gradually introduce them to other people. Knowing your close by can often give them confidence. 

When they’re going through the phase where they’re scared of monsters, don’t be tempted to tell them they’re being silly in the hope that will snap them out of it. Instead, why not go around the house and check for monsters with them so they can feel more secure. 

As real-world fears begin to creep in, talk to your children in an age-appropriate way about what’s going on and be mindful of what they might be seeing on TV. 

Key points

When dealing with children’s fears and phobias, it can be easy to dismiss them or try and reason with them. This will have the opposite effect. Acknowledging their feelings and doing your best to be understanding will often give them the confidence to grow out of their fears on their own. 

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