Fear is a natural emotion that we need to protect, to mobilize in the face of danger. It is generated by the instinct of self-preservation, and if people were not afraid, then, probably, they could not survive.
Therefore, the fact that the baby is afraid, there is nothing to worry about. Another thing is that sometimes he begins to grow by leaps and bounds, suppressing and subjugating the personality of the little man.
Learning to control their fears and eliminate them is a very important lesson for a child on the way to managing his emotions and feelings, and parents, of course, must teach him.
To cope with the enemy, you need to know him in person. Every childhood has its own “monsters”.
What kind? Let’s figure it out.
- Fears of up to a year, by and large, are infants’ reflex reactions in response to a loud sound or light, a sudden change in body position, loss of balance (support), and a sudden approach of a large object.
- For one-year-olds, fears of loneliness (mother left alone in the room), unfamiliar adults, doctors and their actions (most often injections), unexpected harsh sounds (thunder, alarm siren, noise of a low-flying plane) are characteristic.
- For children from 2 to 5 years old, typical fears are fear of loneliness, darkness, confined space, water and fire, strangers (especially clowns or actors with makeup), bad dreams.
- Senior preschool age (5–7 years) is the time of the most intense manifestation of fears. This is due not so much to excessive emotionality as to the mental development of the child and, accordingly, to the increased understanding of danger. Central to all fears begins to occupy the fear of death. It can manifest itself indirectly: through fear of attack (bandits, robbers), diseases, terrible dreams, darkness, fairy-tale characters or cartoon characters, animals, elements (thunderstorms, rainstorms, storms), natural disasters, catastrophes and even war. All of these “horror films” carry anxiety in their background that is connected, even if not directly, with the loss of parents.
- The younger school age (7-12 years) is determined for a child by a new social position – a schoolboy. The experience of their compliance with collective standards and new rules of conduct is accompanied by the fear of non-compliance with these norms. There is also a strong fear of being late somewhere or not having time, a fear to deserve a reprimand, to do something wrong, as it should.
You can start to fight fear when you know for sure what scares the baby. For example, you accidentally fell under a terrible downpour with hail, lightning, streams of water – and now it does not go out the door, even with a light drizzle. And what if the crumb is afraid of silently?
How many children – so many “ways” of expressing fear. Therefore, the best guideline is your feeling that the child in some situations does not behave quite normally.
The most common signs that the baby is scared:
- atypically strong crying or laughter;
- strong grimacing at the moment of fright or after;
- fading or, conversely, high motor and emotional activity (depending on temperament);
- requests to “take the pens”, protect or hug;
- unwillingness to speak on topics that frighten, deliberately avoiding any conditions or objects;
- constant anxiety, inability to concentrate;
- sleep disorders;
- involuntary urination and bowel movements.
The next point that needs to be clarified is: what was the impetus for fright? There are several main reasons for developing fear in a child.
- A sharp sound or movement, an unexpected touch – any unusual situation in combination with the child’s unpreparedness (fell, one woke up at night, choked, the dog ran up and bit, late at night knocked loudly on the door, etc.);
- Anxiety of parents. Adults, without knowing it themselves, easily feed the momentary childhood fear with words and reactions, turning it into real fear: “For God’s sake, do not touch this cat! She will scratch claws like a razor! ”,“ If you do not take away your toys, other children will come and take them away ”,“ You will not stop being capricious, I will take you to the hospital – they will make an injection from harmfulness ”.
- The depreciation of fear. Wrong and categorical “answer” of parents to the alarm (“Stop shaking – you’re a boy!”, “Stop crying – what are you, coward?”, “Oh, laugh! What is it scary ?!”) causes a backlash – baby begins to fear even more.
- Wild fantasy . What children are more afraid? Emotional, sensitive and impressionable. A cute dinosaur in daylight at night can dream of such a baby already in the form of a frightening monster – and that’s the fear of darkness and nightmares. There is nothing abnormal about it. It’s just that a child’s development of the emotional sphere is ahead of the development of logic and thinking, and it’s difficult for him to distinguish between real and imaginary in consciousness. Therefore, the more incomprehensible and disturbing images he draws from life (including from television programs and the Internet), the more opportunities there are for the work of the imagination.
Situations when the crumb can get scared – a million. From the bushes right in front of the nose, the cyclist suddenly turned out; grabbed a hot mug and got burned; swallowed water while swimming; I saw Santa Claus alive and burst into tears, without ever telling the learned poem … It is important to respond correctly to the first childish fright, in order to mitigate its consequences and prevent the fear from becoming fixed.
1) First steps
- Do not blame, do not shame or ridicule (many parents begin to do so out of embarrassment to others because of their own offspring, if it happens in a public place) – in this case, the insult will be added to the fear that his closest and closest people not understood;
- put aside, hug, say that everything is fine, wait until the crumb calms down;
- ask what happened, what exactly scared, and if the answer follows, listen carefully and observe the reaction. If over time the child begins to show interest in what is happening around, you can return to the interrupted activity. When the baby does not calm down, it is better to leave the “scene”.
2) Plan for the future
- Not to say that being afraid is bad. Avoid comments like “do not be afraid”, “do not be like small”, “big people are not afraid” – such phrases do not help overcome fear, but drive it deeper. As a result, the child begins not only to be afraid of something (darkness, water, loneliness), but also afraid to tell someone about his fear;
- not to remember what happened just like that, on occasion (“Look, there’s a hill from which you fell last week. Do you remember how scared you were then?”) and not to tell about the child’s reaction to other people when he is near (“Our it turns out that it is afraid of butterflies – it roared like this when one sat on his shoulder. Yes, Seryozha? ”);
- not appeal to gender differences (“The boy must be brave and not be afraid of anything, otherwise he is a coward and a crybaby”). All children, both girls and boys, have the right to be afraid;
- eliminate fears gradually. If the acute reaction continues, try to cope with fear using your own imagination and art techniques (drawing, modeling, fairy tale therapy, etc.) or seek help from a child psychologist. Fear has an interesting feature: if it is “released into reality,” it will weaken or disappear altogether. “Put on” fear in words, in drawing, in crafts – it will immediately become “real”, and the child will feel control over it. The kid is afraid of the hospital and the “white coats”? Take a medical briefcase and lose a visit to the clinic. In horror, runs away from the vacuum cleaner, swallowing everything and everyone? Buy a toy unit – let them clean it in their room. Hard to be afraid of monsters under the bed? Accept the rules of the game and “talk” with the monster, and state the conditions of the “agreements” reached to the baby.
One of the best ways to deal with fears is to prevent them from occurring. To carry out preventive measures is not so difficult.
How should an adult behave?
- Do not be afraid. Understand your fears so that you do not charge your baby once again. For example, many children are beginning to be afraid of insects, watching the reaction of adults to a wasp flying past or a crawling spider. Do not lose composure, but comment on the episode in a calm voice, literally dropping to the children’s level (that is, squatting so that the baby can see your face and hear the voice well). Say, “Oh, what a little spider – he probably saw us, was scared and is now running into his little house” – or if it suddenly became dark: “Wow, the lights have turned off, but in the meantime we will wait for electricity again, we will light a magic candle and we will tell funny stories. ”
- Do not use fear for “educational” purposes, frightening and intimidating a child (“If you don’t get ready right now, leave and leave you alone”). At an early age in this way it is easy to do only one thing – to cultivate the habit of fearing everything.
- Do not withdraw. Control that the child reads, watches, listens to which electronic games he plays. External, often very negative information background strongly influences the child’s psyche, repeatedly increasing the level of anxiety. On the contrary, it has a positive effect on trips to cultural events, walks, and meeting different people.
- Do not escalate the situation. Fear is afraid of smiles, laughter and jokes, so you can simply make fun of various disturbing moments by relieving tension.
Very often parents confuse the concepts of fear and phobias. Fear is a reaction to a real or imaginary threat that occurs at the moment of collision with an object (home, on the street, in the picture, in a cartoon, in a dream). A typical example of the manifestation of fear: the baby saw a large spider in the pet store’s window, said to his mother: “Look how big, probably, it bites painfully.
Let’s not go to this store? “.
A phobia is a hypertrophied fear, useless and unreasonable, completely exciting. How does it manifest itself? The child, seeing the spider in the window, did not just refuse to enter, but asked his mother to go around the store and during the return trip he spoke only about the spider.
When he came home, he took out a “weapon” against the spiders, at night he demanded to be near and look for spiders in the bed, and when he woke up in the morning, he refused to go to the kindergarten on the street where he first saw the spider in the window.
Fear of a child can turn into a phobia, if:
- it is constantly focused on;
- there is a constant collision with the subject of fear;
- during the moments of fright there is no support (in words, hugs, presence);
- the development and formation of fear occurs against the background of negative changes (the divorce of parents, the death of a loved one).
The most common childhood phobias are fear of darkness, pain, thunder and lightning, animals and insects. Phobic fears are almost impossible to overcome on their own without the help of a specialist.
In no case it is impossible to ignore the problem, as over time it can only get worse!