October 26, 2012

Children’s Fear: What Parents Fear about Their Children


Children’s fear is an abnormal part of growing up.  Children share many of the same fears.  Some of these fears change and then disappear with growth.  Ideally, children retain the healthy fears that protect them from danger, but not irrational and unproductive fears.



Parents are the key influence on how children’s fear should be handled.  They can intensify or alleviate children’s fear through their reactions.  Fearful parents may raise children so fearful that they feel anxious and powerless.  Those children learn to distrust people and things in their environment, viewing the world as a dangerous place.  Fears that are too intense and too prolonged may harm their developing personality.

Parents who grew up with many fears and continue to be troubled by them may want to seek professional help in this area of parenting.  Through learning how to help the young to overcome children’s fear, the parent will learn to cope more effectively themselves.  Children who learn how to face and conquer their fears feel powerful, rather than threatened and helpless.

Overly protective parents seem preoccupied with fears related to their children’s safety, imaging many dangerous possibilities.  Consequently, they continue to protect their children long after the children should have learned to protect themselves.  Parents remain in full charge where children’s fear is not well handled.  An example of such protective tendencies might be refusal to allow the child participate in sports or any other potentially dangerous activities. 

Such parents continually voice warnings and monitor all of their children’s activities, supposedly for safety reasons. These children will probably lack the confidence essential for success in the world, depending completely on their parents, who always watch out for them.  Eventually, some of these children might demand the chance to grow.  They might even secretly seek out forbidden activities to assert their independence and thus learn to rely on their own judgment. 

How fortunate are the children who feel safe and protected while they are small but learn to take care of themselves as they grow.  Their parents believe that their children can and will use judgement and know how to protect themselves or get help when necessary.  This belief is transmitted to the children, often simply by the parents’ attitude.  Kids will grow up with an inner assurance that they will succeed in the world as children’s fear is overcome.


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3 Comments:

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