Dealing With Childhood Fears
Fears of school-age children
Your child may seem anxious about everyday occurrences. School-age children usually are still dealing with a number of fears that first developed during their early childhood, such as fear of ghosts, of the dark, or even of dying. Every child's fears are different. Parents may not even recognize that some behaviors are based on fears (for example, when a child refuses to eat a food that is touching another food on the plate).
Children this age try to deal with, minimize, or possibly eliminate these fears. They battle fears by playing good-guy, bad-guy superheroes, by watching scary movies, and by acting tough and fearless. They may become fascinated by what they are afraid of and try to overcome their fear by becoming experts on the subject. For this reason, some children respond positively to detailed information about subjects that frighten them.
Other children may seek greater control over situations in response to fear. They may enjoy fantasy shows and books where the characters are extremely brave, smart, and clever or who have unusual powers. For example, they may be attracted to shows and books that feature boy and girl superheroes.
Usually children need more than assurance from their parents to overcome a fear (for example, that ghosts do not exist). Over time, most children accept the truth and let go of their fears.
Children's reaction to violence
Most children in the United States and Canada are exposed to violence on television, in movies, and in other media. Some children even experience violence directly.
Here are some guidelines to help children deal with exposure to violence or violent issues:
As a self-protection measure, your child may react in ways that concern you. Don't be alarmed by common reactions to violence, such as:
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