Sunday, October 28, 2012

How Children cope with fear

Despite their vulnerability to fears, children may develop a surprising array of psychological strategies for dealing with their own anxieties. You may notice your youngster, for example, going through a superhero phase of pretend play between the ages of three and five, when imagined fears tend to proliferate. Constantly reminded of their smallness and lack of control over events, children of this age often play the all powerful hero in their fantasy games as a way of fending off the fantasy villains that threaten them.

Other children try to overcome fears by experimenting with the source. For example, a child who is fearful of being flushed down then toilet may try to flush a toy down the drain. Mommy may find it annoying to have to retrieve a sopping wet toy from the toilet bowl, but the child’s reaction is quite the opposite: he feels reassured to see that the toy does not really disappear.

A youngster may also become quite strongly attracted to an object that he once feared, in an instinctive attempt to desensitize himself. If he was afraid of dogs, the child may suddenly stop to admire every dog that he sees. And may children use rituals as a method of holding their fears in check. A child who grows anxious and upset at the approach of bedtime is often comforted by a familiar routine – listening to a story, brushing teeth, then being tucked in and kissed goodnight – because it reinforces his sense of security.