Photo by Caleb Woods
Originally Posted On: https://livingwellkids.com/2020/03/30/be-the-light-for-your-child-in-the-dark-times/
Even at a very young age, a child can already sense the feeling of fear. Fear of being left alone by themselves or by their parents, and fear of monsters or natural disasters. Different worries add up to their fear, that if not solved at an early age will just become worst as they grow older.
As a child experiences, anything that is not a positive event in their life will just add up to the lists of fears that the child has.
All kinds of Fear the child gets, or child develops as moving forward in time?
From the time they are born to a few months after that, the child will have a fear of any noise that is too loud for their hearing. Separation anxiety also appears at such an early age, where the child will fear being left alone by their parents or guardian and would cry in protest if the child experiences it.
There is also fear to rise at 7 months up to 12 months where the child will now fear people they are not familiar with and will only want the presence of their parents.
When a child is one year of age, the child will have a stronger form of separation anxiety that continues up to the age of six. This is a strong fear of being away from parents or guardians. There is also a fear that they would get hurt.
Once the child turns 2 years old, he will have another set of fears to face such as being frightened of animals or big objects, being in the dark and unfamiliar places frightens them.
When the child turns 3 to 4 years, the child’s imagination increases and will have a fear of monsters, bad dreams, and still afraid of the dark.
From the age of 5 to 8, a child will experience another fearful experience and will slowly add to the lists of his fears. At this age, they will be more imaginative and fearful of things that may include witches, ghosts, and supernatural beings. Being an imaginative person at this age, they also become fearful of the dark still, due to them imagining someone or something appearing in front of them when they are alone.
From the age of 9 to 12, the child will start worrying about their appearance and expresses fear of not being liked. From the way they look, the way they dress would be an issue at this age. They will also let out fear of growing up, of not being a little child anymore.
Adolescent age, there is much fear on the list of a child at this age. This is the time when they have too much confusion. They are slowly venturing out to be a social being, hence, they will need friends they can be with, to talk to and compare things with. In such a situation, the parents or the guardian should always be there to support, understand and explain what is happening to them, why it is happening and how the child can get past those fears and worries. A child’s understanding of their feelings will mostly depend on how their adults will handle the situation.
How does a child condition fear?
Once a child felt fear or worries that may be about a circumstance or that may involve someone, she will focus on that fear. Sometimes the child will believe that there is a valid reason for her fears and worries. If the thing she fears the most kept happening and seems repeat, the child will have a mindset that it is just right to feel the fear.
How does fear turn into trauma?
Trauma in a child happens when she experienced something unsettling or fearsome to the point of terrifying during their childhood. Such an experience, if it happens to a child, can overwhelm and may become a source of their trauma.
Trauma such as interpersonal in nature includes neglect, abuse of the child or someone close to the child or violence(when the child experiences abuse sexually, physically or emotionally where they are a witness to someone being violated or abuse, or the child experiencing the abuse themselves). There is also trauma from something that the child wasn’t able to experience (not being taken care of, not being loved). While there are also events that can be traumatic to them, such as sudden loss of their parent/guardian, natural disasters, accident.
Cause and effect of Fear or Trauma in Childs future or behavior?
When this fear or frightful experience in a child were not addressed, the experience will become traumatic to a child. The child will carry the trauma throughout her life.
There will be an effect on their emotions and how they deal with people, even with somebody close to them. Sometimes a child with traumatic experience may vent it out in a different manner, say, the child will become violent to their peers as well and when that child became an adult, they will also become violent when things didn’t go as they intended.
Others who became traumatized when they were young cannot express their emotions and tend to hide it. Thus, it compromises relationships. Some will have anger issues that when faced with events that anger them, they become violent, potentially making them dangerous not only to their peers but to society.
The defensive child, when a child experiences being neglected and unloved their stance will be to protect themselves from feeling any emotions and will be on the defense from becoming hurt or angered by the event or situation that faces them.
Most of those who have a traumatic experience may also become a problem of society doing illegal activities, using an illegal substance, assaulting other people and even stealing.
How do parents deal with the fear or trauma of their children?
Parents should foremost need to identify the cause of trauma in their child and hence be able to address the problem and find a solution to the problem.
The parent should be able to comfort the child and reassure them they are not alone and will be looked after. Parents should be the strength of their child during these times, knowing when to comfort, ease fear, and help their child recover as easily as possible.
Parents should make their children feel secure again. Be cautious about how they act around their child and make everything safe for their child.
Parents should have routines and maintain them so that their child will be at ease and with small steps feel the stability.
Encourage your children to enjoy what activities they enjoyed before the trauma they experienced.
Let the child know that they can talk to their parents about what they are feeling, that their parents will be there to listen to them without judgment and prejudice whenever and wherever.
Parents should let the child heal and just be there with continued support.
Parents should understand that children will cope with trauma differently. So, let the child deal with the trauma at their own pace.
Parents should always acknowledge how their child feels as this is very important to the child to know that their feelings are being taken into consideration, that it is the most important during these times.
Major Activities that help children to be fearless, courageous and stress-free.
Try to include being brave and courageous when you talk to your child, teach them what is the concept of bravery and courage, that bravery is being afraid but doing what is right should be given focus when discussing with your child.
Help your child express themselves without fear of being ridiculed. Just assure them and let them know that it is up to them to make themselves feel good, let them talk to you on what will make them feel happy and at ease.
Talk to them on how you, as a parent, face challenges in your day-to-day circumstances, be it at work or just by being outside of your home. How you tackle certain issues and how you provide a solution to the issue. The parent should be a model for them.
Just let them know that what will make them feel happy is by being themselves.
Help them if they fail and encourage them to try again.
Encourage them to enroll in major activities that will help their whole being; e.g. martial arts lessons.
Martial Arts Lessons are very helpful to the child, since they are being taught about self-meditation, self-control, and overcoming stress. Martial arts take the edge off the children’s emotional, mental and physical stresses in life.
Fear will always be there, but it is how fear is handled that will make a difference. As a parent, you have a responsibility to your child not only to give them the basic needs they require but also responsibility nurturing their emotional and mental aspect. By ensuring that you are doing your best to promote a healthy and safe environment for your child, you can at least say that you are keeping those fears away from their minds. Making sure it will stay that way.