Fear or dread is a person's instinct, but when does it start? In recent years, studies by foreign medical and psychological experts have shown that fear or dread begins at birth. As parents, it is very important to understand this feeling of the child, because it can guide parents on how to properly treat this feeling of the child is very important to promote the healthy physical and mental growth and development of children.
Fear in children of different ages
The fear or dread that exists in children is generally milder and age-specific and temporary. Some fears will disappear with the normal developmental process of children. Children of different ages will have different objects of fear, and the specific content of fear that exists at a given age and the intensity of that fear will depend on each child's journey of learning and experience. As their level of recognition increases and they gain experience, children will have more experience in determining whether new environments are novel or threatening, and their reactions to these environments will change with age.
1 to 6 months
Infants are more sensitive to hearing in the early years. Therefore, louder noises can cause fear in infants. However, an occasional stimulus or two is not enough to hurt them. It is enough to give sufficient reassurance when the infant cries. Avoid continuously subjecting infants to noises that continue to reinforce their fears.
6 to 9 months
In infancy, the response to novel stimuli, especially strangers, depends on a variety of situational factors. For example, the presence or absence of a familiar person, the proximity to the familiar person, the familiarity of the environment, previous experiences with strangers, the availability of alternative responses (whether the infant can crawl to the mother or someone else), and the infant's personality traits, the characteristics of the stranger, the way the stranger approaches the infant, and so on.
Infants have a general fear of strangers, but this varies from situation to situation. In one situation, infants may cry or avoid strangers, while in another situation they may become interested in strangers and make gestures of willingness to engage. Therefore, it is important for parents to be alert to their infants' contact with strangers during this period and to provide them with a safer environment whenever possible. Parents should reassure their infants when they appear upset.
During this same period, infants also develop a fear of heights. This is because the infant is already perceiving height at this time. By nine months, physical development has enabled them to roll over and crawl, but these motor skills are not sufficient for them to cope with their fear of heights, which is almost innate. However, as infants grow older and gain more control over their bodies, this fear will slowly disappear.
12 to 24 months
The peak of anxiety in children separated from their caregivers occurs between 18 and 24 months of age and is an extremely common reaction. Children's reactions to separation depend on many factors, including age, past separation experiences, control over the environment, cognitive level, personality traits, the mother's relationship with the child, and the mother's behavior during the separation. As children enter preschool, separation from guardians is also influenced by other factors, such as the presence of familiar people, familiarity with the environment, and the child's social interaction skills. Typically, children who have developed secure attachments with their mothers have significantly less separation anxiety when their mothers are away. They know that their mother will return and will stay in a more appropriate environment during her absence.
This shows that it is extremely important to establish a secure attachment between mother and child. It is also important to note that mother-child separation should be done gradually. For example, a short separation at first, and then gradually lengthen the time. It is important to remember that the caregiver must return within a guaranteed period to give the child a psychological base.
After the age of 2
As they enter their second year, children's fears become more personal. Fearful responses to more concrete stimuli give way to fears of imagined things and anticipatory fears of knowledge-seeking situations, such as being alone, the dark, death, kidnappers, and muggers. Generally, these fears peak at age four and remain at their peak between the ages of four and six, after which the peak begins to decline.
6 to 12 years old
Between the ages of six and twelve, fears are mostly associated with school, physical injury, and natural disasters. More abstract social anxiety and anxiety about grades emerge, and fears of injury, natural time, and socialization can persist throughout life. During this period, children begin to recognize death. Sometimes their hand bleeds and they run to tell their mother, "My hand is bleeding." Most likely the child's subtext for saying this is "Am I going to die?" The mother's reassurance that this bleeding will not be a problem can be a reassurance to the child.
In addition to being concerned about themselves, children are also concerned about their parents. They fear the death of their parents, and then there will be no one left to care for them. Therefore, it is beneficial for children to have the feeling of being protected together. This feeling can come from the parent's verbal assurances or the parent's actual actions.
Pay attention to your child's unusual fears
When classifying and diagnosing a child's fears, it is important to examine the stage of development and the severity of the behavior the child is experiencing. Certain fears are considered normal at a particular age or developmental stage, but the same fear appearing at a different age may be determined to be abnormal. For example, separation anxiety is expected in young children but is abnormal if it occurs in school-aged children. Therefore, parents need to observe their child closely and if the expected fear is so severe that it interferes with the child's adjustment or development, then the fear is abnormal.
Fear or dread has limits and becomes phobic when there is an extreme, persistent, and maladaptive fear of external, non-dangerous objects or environments, such as strangers, solitary people, darkness, animals, etc. Children generally develop a fear of specific objects or environments after extremely unpleasant experiences or creations, such as painful experiences with injections in hospitals, being chased by dogs, and accidents. Unless the trauma is extremely severe or constantly reinforced, these fears will disappear on their own and will not become phobias.
When a child is scared and fearful
At this point, parents need to respond correctly; otherwise, the fear will affect the child's growth and psychological development. When children are too young to express themselves, parental touch and cuddling are the best body language. In addition, soft words of comfort can also reduce the child's adverse reaction; when the child learns to express, parents should listen carefully to the child's expression of fear in addition to physical reassurance, and put themselves in the child's shoes to understand their feelings, not just explain that fear is unnecessary. In addition, parents should also learn to listen to the strings of the child's speech to understand what the child is afraid of. If the child's fears fall within the normal developmental range, parents need not worry too much. Otherwise, parents who show excessive anxiety about their children's fears are likely to have their fears reinforced and not easily disappear later. If the child's fears are abnormal and cannot be relieved by various parental reassurances, it is best to seek early consultation with a specialist.
There are no comments for this story
Be the first to respond and start the conversation.