Anxiety and fear are natural human emotional experiences. Their main function is to provide self-preservation, warning a person about danger, helping to correctly navigate in the surrounding reality (for example, from failure in the exam in the summer session, from a possible fire in the house, from the risk of being hit by a car when crossing the street or from being bitten by a stranger’s dog, etc.) .NS.).
Anxiety and fear almost always accompany each other: appearing in the form of a “vague premonition of something bad”, anxiety can easily be transformed into a fear of something specific, and the experienced phobic state can “keep its mark” in the form of a constant anxious expectation of a recurrence of fear, etc.
Children’s fears and their manifestations
Children’s fears are incredibly varied. It is not always easy for parents to see the fears behind their child’s fantasies. All childhood fears can be divided into normal and pathological.
- Children under one-year-old are normally afraid of loud sounds, sudden movements, strangers, etc.
- At the age of 1 to 3 years, there is a fear of separation from parents or rejection of parents. Toddlers are afraid of nightmares, trauma, unknown peers, and natural phenomena.
- From 3 to 5 years old, children begin to realize the finiteness of life and experience fear about their death or the death of relatives. They are frightened by terrible dreams, fire and fires, poisonous snakes, and natural elements.
- At the age of 6-8 years, there is a fear of sinister creatures (ghosts, witches), fear of loneliness, physical violence, and social “school” fears (to be untenable, not to meet the expectations of parents, to be rejected by the collective).
- At 8-11 years of age, there is a fear that the child’s bad deeds will be noticed by others. Children are afraid of illness, school failure, robbers, thieves, and hooligans, spinning (some carousels), heights, and quarrels with their parents.
- From 11 to 13 years old, children are afraid of possible unattractiveness, their own strange actions, serious illness or death, sexual abuse, criticism of adults, the possibility of getting into a stupid situation, and the loss of personal belongings.
Pathological forms of children’s fears require consultation with a child psychiatrist, psychotherapist.
It is necessary to emphasize two very important age-related features of the occurrence of children’s fears:
- Infection: children are emotional and impressionable, after 3 years, emotional-figurative thinking is actively developing, children easily share the mental states of other people, so they can adopt fears from their peers or adults.
- Dependence on the psychological climate in the family: quarrels negatively affect the psyche of both adults and children; for a child who is completely dependent on his parents and loves them with all his heart, family conflicts are simply intolerable. Unprocessed and not expressed feelings of the baby can be transformed into fears.
The most traumatic and alarming in the child’s psyche are either too caring attitude of the parents (for example, accompanying every step of the child, protecting from dangers that do not exist, etc.), or too demanding upbringing (for example, “do not be slobber, a real man is nothing not afraid “- etc.) – such parental” expectations “are unconsciously read by the child as rejection, and this is absolutely unbearable for him.
No matter how strange it sounds, even the most loving parents are not always able to accept their child as he is, especially if the child is very different from the parents in terms of natural and biological properties – children intuitively feel this. On the example of temperament (an innate biological property of the nervous system ) – parents are active choleric, and the child has a phlegmatic or melancholic temperament).
Following diagnostic consultation a child psychologist, a therapist will determine the most appropriate corrective treatment specifically for your child – psychological or, perhaps, medical and psychological: it may be playing a class with objects that help overcome fear, lessons with the use of sand, which created fantasy “sand worlds ”help the child to symbolically experience, to process the traumatic experience, subjectively and emotionally significant for the child, and other events.