It is normal for children to be afraid sometimes. Fear is an emotion that can help children to be cautious. New, big, loud, or different can be scary at first. Parents can help children feel safe and learn to feel comfortable and calm. Things that scare children change as they grow older. As children explore the world around them, they gain new experiences and face new challenges; anxieties are almost an inevitable part of growth.
According to one study, 43% of children between the ages of 6 and 12 have many fears and worries. Fear of the dark, particularly of being left alone in the dark, is one of the most common fears in this age group. The same is true of the fear of animals, such as large dogs that bark. And with this we do not mean that these fears will disappear or that they only remain during childhood, on the contrary, these fears can transcend into adulthood, I say it personally, this is the stage in which I still have multiple fears, the heights, the open sea, spiders and many more. But we cannot allow fears to paralyze us, we must teach our children to face or recognize them, know that they are there and that we will do everything possible to overcome them little by little.
Sometimes fears can become so extreme, persistent, and focused that they turn into phobias. Phobias, which are intense and irrational fears, can become persistent and debilitating, and significantly influence and interfere with a child’s normal daily activities. Many people associate phobias with adulthood, but these can be developed from a young age, when a fear is not faced and is constantly repeated it can turn into a phobia, something that children do not want to see even in their biggest nightmares, they are uncontested fears.
As part of the treatment plan for phobias, many therapists suggest exposing the child to the source of her anxiety in small doses that do not pose a threat. With the guidance of a therapist, a child who is afraid of dogs might start by talking about this fear and looking at pictures or a video about dogs. Then you could observe a real dog behind the safety of a window. Then, with a parent or a therapist by your side, you could spend a few minutes in the same room with a cuddly, friendly puppy. Eventually, you will find that you can pet the dog and then you will be exposed to situations with larger, unfamiliar dogs. This process is called desensitization, which means that your child will be a little less sensitive to the source of her fear each time she faces it. As parents we must support our children and not believe that a fear will go away by itself, we must help them to face them and to achieve a quiet life without so many fears or phobias.