Posted , updated Dec 08, 2008.
Young children often have fears. They can be afraid of the dark, of strangers, or being alone. "Hearing" a child's fears means to listen and be supportive. Fear often eases when someone bigger and stronger is there to help you.
The most important thing for an adult to remember is that feeling fear is not bad and children should not be ashamed of feeling scared. "Be a big boy," or "there's nothing to be afraid of" are often the first words said, and can damage a child's sense of self. The fear is real, even if the cause might not be.
Children's fears may come from many different places. Adults often can't understand why children are afraid, and children are often confused about it as well. Sometimes children are afraid of television shows. With today’s special affects in movies and TV, adults may forget that young children do not know the difference between what’s real and pretend.
Even the news on the television or radio can scare young children. Sometimes the fear is obvious. Other times it is not known. The thing your child seems to be afraid of might be something completely different. Fear of the dark, for example, might come as a result of a photo of a missing child on a milk carton.
Assist children by reading books that help "master" their fears. If a child is afraid of monsters, Mercer Mayer has a simple series including: There’s an Alligator Under My Bed, There’s Something in my Attic, or What Do You Do with a Kangaroo? Your local library has many books to help calm young children's fears through stories.
As adults we often forget what is scary as a child. "Hear" what a child is afraid of and help to ease the fear by listening. It isn't indulging or spoiling to help in this way. Being there for your child and not belittling her feelings is an important bonding process
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