It is very typical for children to experience fear and anxiety as they grow and develop. Certain fears are very developmental in nature such as separation anxiety; which usually occurs at very distinct ages in young children.
The dark, monsters, ghosts and other things such as these are commonly feared as children grow up as well. This is all within the range of typical and appropriate in terms of child development.
Individual temperament plays a big role in how fear affects us. Some of us love that adrenaline rush that comes with fear and others are terrified of it. You can really see the influence of temperament when working with groups of young children. Their natural tendencies start to emerge at the earliest of ages as their personality develops. It is definitely a time period when that nature versus nurture argument can be analyzed.
There is a difference though between a fear and a phobia. A phobia is a fear that is extreme, severe and persistent.
Knowing when to seek outside help is important. Draw the line if the phobia is hindering your child’s ability to function. That is when it is important to get support.
When your child is experiencing fear, always respect the fear but do not reinforce it. Never mock the fear or belittle your child for how they feel. Sometimes parents can do that without even realizing it at all.
Try to teach coping strategies to your child. They can use you as “home base” and venture closer to the perceived fear as they are comfortable.
Teach your child how to identify and understand their feelings and they will be better able to work through these fears and eventually resolve them.
Understanding that experiencing fear is a natural part of their child’s development is important for parents to know. With this information, parents can handle the issue sensitively and appropriately as they help their children develop into empowered adults.
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