Fear lacks popularity, even its existence is seen as something negative. However, it corresponds to an emotion that is intended to protect us from danger. It is worth considering then whether it is bad or not for children to feel fear.
On our site we clarify the positive points of feeling fear and how to help children when that fear becomes distressing.
Fear is a basic emotion that arises because we perceive a danger that can be real or imaginary, and that disposes the body to a rapid flight feeling an activation in the lower and upper extremities, allowing the situation to escape.
The function of this emotion is survival, to be able to start mechanisms that defend us against risk or danger. Sometimes as parents we fall into the error of thinking that our children cannot fear anything and when they do, the first thing we do is invite them not to feel it.
For example, a child tells his mother not to turn off the light because he is afraid, the mother - probably - will answer him: “calm down, nothing happens in the dark. Do not worry". However, we fall into the temptation of not empathizing with the fear of our children.
This could be detrimental to the socio-affective development, because not empathizing with their fear causes greater anguish and stress. The brain would begin to secrete high doses of cortisol, the stress hormone, which according to research limits cognitive development.
In order to be a containing response to children's fear, it is imperative to be able to know which fears are present according to evolutionary development.
During the first years of life, the greatest fear is the abandonment of their caregivers, as well as the presence of strangers. When you are two years old, your fears are related to the dark and certain animals that could harm you. The fear of abandonment or separation from their parents or caregivers is also glimpsed.
At 4 years of age, fears begin to be more fanciful in nature, such as monsters or ghosts. There is also fear of earthquakes, thunder or lightning. During adolescence, fear begins to present elements and social nature as fear of ridicule or death of loved ones.
- Help them name what they fear. For this, it is essential that you feel that your parents tune in to your fear.
- Do not embarrass or scold them for being afraid. This would prevent our children from facing their fears.
- Facilitate the confrontation of fear through creative ideas so that gradually and without pressure they can slowly face their fears. Like, for example, giving him a layer of super powers.
- Help you deal with heartbreakto which it generates fear through relaxation tools such as breathing or changing the focus of attention.
Through these tools, they will notice that our children will know how to use this same feeling, fear, as a tool for improvement and growth. Not in vain some of these characters are related to their fears, because they knew how to occupy them for their own benefit.
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