Fear is something which is quite common in everyone but what varies is the degree of fear. It is the dysfunctionality which determines the severity of fear. In todays world of uncertainty, children are affected the most. Any child will get afraid when he feels that the circumstances around are beyond his control or he fails to understand his world around. The early developmental period of life brings many such moments when the child feels that his sense of safety is challenged. The violence, horror, threats and harshness shown in movies, fairy tales or cartoons make the children even more vulnerable towards fear. Fear of darkness, injections, rides, insects, and animals are the most common fears among children. Moreover, imaginary fears can also be seen among the children such as monsters under the bed or behind the curtain, ghosts being seen on the ceiling or the walls at night, or just a simple anxiety while going to bed etc. How the parents or guardians address such fears of the children and offer comfort to them makes a difference in their behaviors.
Ms. Amna Nawaz currently works as a clinical psychologist at Willing Ways, Lahore. She has done MS in clinical psychology and B.Sc (Hons.) from GC University, Lahore. Heath counseling, addiction counseling, subjective well-being and intellectual disability are her areas of interest as well as her educational expertise.Earlier, she has also supervised trainee child psychologists working in a special education institute being run by the Government of Punjab.
Editor: Ms. Hameeda Batool
As parents, it is indeed one of the helpless and frustrating moments when their children carry irrational fears and nothing said or done is enough for them to cope with their fears effectively. However, parents can make a huge positive impact on their children's behavior by choosing right kind of responses.
The first and foremost goal in achieving this task is to understand the child's fear instead of snubbing him, judging him, calling him unreasonable or directly denying, neglecting or ignoring his fearful feelings. Dismissing a child's fear is so easy no matter how dangerous the fearful object is. It is very important to validate a child's fears no matter how silly or pointless they appear to be. Although it sounds counter intuitive, as one might thing that if we validate child's fear then it will make him more scared. However, it does help them in processing the fearful emotions and go through it. Validation will make the child connect with the parents which will make him feel that he is no more alone and will eradicate the additional worry of fighting with his fears all alone. Even only acknowledging the child's fear as a real emotion than just a silly thought can make a huge difference in making the child calm.