All children have fears of one kind or another. Fear is an emotion like others such as love, happiness, anger, hurt and sadness. Babies are quite unpredictable. In the early days of their lives they are quite fearless. They go boldly into the great unknown. As the child grows older, her imagination and curiosity develops side by side. She learns the potential dangers of certain actions and objects and the reasons why it is so. As she makes these connections, her awareness makes her cautious and sometimes frightened.
It has been observed that these fears develop more often in children for whom feeding and toilet training have been contentious issues, or in those who have overprotective parents or who have been regularly warned or cautioned against doing certain things. On the other hand, some children are just born sensitive. They will slowly grow out of these new fears with your understanding and help.Some of the causes are:Fear of the dark
Fear of the dark is one of the most common childhood fears. This is also a fear that is quite common in adults too. If your child is scared of the dark you can indulge her by leaving her bedroom door open or leaving a night light on. Keep her well occupied with games and other activities throughout the day so that she has no time to brood on her fears. In time, she will realize that there is nothing to fearTangible fears
Sometimes children develop fears of tangible things like dogs, cockroaches, water, and men in uniform. It is not necessary for the child to have had a frightening experience with any of the objects of their fears. It will certainly not help them to overcome their fear by forcing them to confront the objects of their fears. Children most often outgrow these fears themselves. Fear of death
Some children are scared of death and dying. They cannot understand what happens to their pets or people who die. It is necessary for the parents to explain to the child that the deceased has gone up to God in heaven. On the other hand, parents can just deal with death by saying that the person was old, weak and too tired to go on living. It is important that parents maintain a casual air and reassure their child that they will be around for years to come. Fear at the movies
Some children begin to wail in the theatres and demand to be taken home. Parents must remember that children below the age of seven often find it difficult to separate fiction and reality because of their overactive imaginations. Thus, movies may not be a good idea for children in this age group. Fear of separation
Although separation anxieties are normal among infants and toddlers, they are not appropriate for older children or adolescents. They may represent symptoms of separation anxiety disorder. Children with separation anxiety may cling to their parent and have difficulty falling asleep by themselves at night. Their need to stay close to their parent or home may make it difficult for them to attend school or stay at friends’ houses, or be in a room by themselves. Fear of separation can lead to dizziness, nausea, or palpitations.
Separation anxiety is often associated with symptoms of depression, such as sadness, withdrawal, apathy, or difficulty in concentrating, and such children often fear that they or a family member might die. Young children experience nightmares or fears at bedtime. Every day parents should teach their babies to make their way in the world in many little ways.Social Phobia
Children with social phobias (also called social anxiety disorder) have a persistent fear of being embarrassed. In social situations such as during a performance, or if they have to speak in class or in public, get into conversation with others, or eat, drink, or write in public. Feelings of anxiety in these situations produce physical reactions like palpitations, tremors, sweating, diarrhoea, blushing, muscle tension, etc. Children, may be afraid that others will notice their anxiety and consider them odd and make fun of them.Divorce
At some point all children are afraid of being abandoned, but when parents separate, the fear of being left alone becomes all too real. The child may assume that since one parent has left, the other will too. Suddenly a child’s natural desire to explore the world becomes replaced by the anxiety of being left at home with no one. Children experiencing a divorce need extra care and the child should be made to feel safer and needs extra care. As the world can seem a threatening place to a youngster.