Anxious Children – How Can Parents Help?
In a world where only self-confidence and strength are expected of everyone, fears seem to have no place at all.
And yet they are just as much a part of life as any other feeling. And fear plays a very important role among the feelings. She warns us to be careful and helps us to recognize our limits. We can’t be brave until we’ve experienced fear and overcome it. And in many situations, such as on the road, fear protects us from possible dangers. Fear in children does not always have to be a bad thing!
Children are not yet able to comprehend many things with their minds and are therefore much more afraid than adults. From the point of view of us grown-ups, many of their fears seem exaggerated or completely unfounded. And yet they are there and very real for the little ones. Parents and other caregivers are often helpless when faced with the child’s fears and simply don’t know how to deal with them. How to strengthen a child in a fearful situation? Are fears homemade? What is the difference between normal anxiety and an anxiety disorder? This topic raises many questions and often confronts us with our own life story.
How to deal with child grief?
Anxiety or Anxiety Disorder in Children?
Every child goes through phases of fear. Some may be afraid of a thunderstorm , others of high towers or caves. Small children often run away screaming when they hear the sound of the vacuum cleaner. And in the so-called alien phase, the offspring is afraid of all sorts of people that they only know sporadically. He hides under Mama’s skirt or holds on to her arm convulsively.
School children can be afraid of the math test or the German work. Or of being laughed at or teased by classmates. There are really fears in the most diverse situations in life and yet they all have one thing in common: the fear of the unknown.
How can parents help their anxious child?
Let’s try to empathize with our anxious child. What good would it do us if we were afraid or worried? Surely you have already figured it out yourself: we would like someone to listen to us and take us seriously. In a fearful situation, we don’t need anyone to bluntly explain to us that we really don’t need to be afraid. That we should just pull ourselves together a bit and everything will be fine again. No, such sentences do not help us and certainly not our anxious children. But what helps then? Well, when a child is afraid, the first thing they do is seek the safety of someone they trust. First and foremost, these will be the parents, but grandparents, other relatives or carers of the child can also come into question. A simple hug or hold your hand can sometimes do more than a thousand words. Listen to the child and ask sensitive questions. If the trust is there and you notice that the offspring is ready to take a step forward, then support them. It is important to always proceed step by step. Let’s take the example of the toddler and his fear of the vacuum cleaner. First, you could look at books together that show vacuum cleaners. Then perhaps one’s own will be fetched from the broom closet. Did you know that you can have fun riding a vacuum cleaner through the living room? So: sit up and mum or dad pushes! Now you can set the vacuum cleaner to be very quiet, i.e. let it run at a low power level.
Feel free to get medical advice
It is sometimes difficult to tell whether a child’s fear is a normal, development-related fear or whether it is caused by an anxiety disorder or a real phobia. If in doubt, it is advisable to speak to the attending pediatrician about the problem. Of course, this is especially true when the fears have a major impact on family life and the child is clearly overwhelmed by the situation. In such cases, therapy with a child psychologist may be indicated.
It comes down to education
Again and again the question arises as to whether fear in children can be self-made. Well, education certainly can make a decisive contribution to whether a child becomes a very anxious child or one who is less afraid than others. In the phase in which the baby or toddler wants to discover everything, the parents often overreact. Of course, the offspring must be protected from dangerous situations, there is no question about that. But if you feel the fear of your own parents again and again at moments that are actually not dangerous, you will of course adopt this attitude to a certain extent. It is better to encourage the child when it wants to break new ground. Support your offspring and let them make their own experiences. Of course, the children sometimes fall down – but they also get up again!
Fears in children:
- afraid of the dark
- fear of thunderstorms
- Fear of changing schools
- fear of being alone
- fear of vaccination
- fear of strangers
- afraid of kindergarten
- fear of animals
- afraid of other children
- afraid of the bath
- fear in the pool
- fear of snow
- Dental fear in children
- fear of testimony
- test anxiety
- afraid of school
- afraid of the teacher
- Fear of Santa Claus