Fear of the dark is one of the most common fears for boys and girls, Even in adolescence. As always, one cannot say that fear is a bad thing in and of itself, but it can be detrimental in any case if it becomes a pattern of avoidant behavior that emerges when there is no reason to be alert. or look for a safer place. In this article, we will look at several tips on how to act on children who are afraid of the dark to help them and relieve the discomfort they feel when walking in places without light.
Children are afraid of the dark: why do they suffer?
The first thing we need to do when approaching this problem is to understand the logic behind the child’s fear experience. Fear of the dark is a given, that is, involuntary learning, not something that arises naturally in a child and then needs to be corrected. This implies that, just as it has been learned, it can also be unlearned.
I what sense does it make to fear the lack of light? Vision is one of the senses we use the most when we receive outside stimuli, and in fact the part of the brain that we use to process visual information is very large. Therefore, when the sight is canceled, we feel much more disoriented and dependent on others or on the resources that we can find.
In the case of children, to this feeling of uncertainty, we must add the feeling of helplessness, Exposure to potential dangers and impotence. Because? Because among the little ones, magical thinking is much more common.
What is magical thinking?
Magical thinking is a way of thinking that is based on the assumption that reality includes entities capable of transforming or adopting forms that we confuse with inanimate objects and which therefore surround us without our realizing it, directing sometimes our destinies or simply influencing what happens to us. indirectly.
It is based, after all, on place an entity deliberately behind the events that occur, Since we still don’t understand how our environment works.
So what is scary is not so much the darkness itself, but the fact that through the protection it offers, children are far from the protection of adults and can be victims of the misdeeds of any “monster” or malicious entity.
Educate children against fear of the dark
Now that we understand a little better why there are children who are afraid of the dark, it is time to propose solutions. Although it is very unlikely that a minor will spend a night from being very afraid of the dark to not feeling any discomfort or some level of anxiety when walking around in a dimly lit place, if we can do so that this level of fear decreases a lot, it is enough that it is not a big problem.
1. Don’t ridicule your fears
Maybe from an adult’s point of view, fear of the dark may seem absurd, but as we have seen, it can be meaningful to children. That’s why you shouldn’t laugh at these fears, although obviously it is also not necessary to show that there are reasons to have this fear.
The key is to be understanding and allow the little one in the house to explain their fears by feeling understood. If we laugh at these concerns, we will do nothing more than reaffirm that no when it comes to fear of the dark is alone and he doesn’t have too much protection from that feeling, but if he can express himself, that feeling of helplessness won’t be there.
2. Set the pieces of fiction to which you are exposed
Obviously, if a child is usually exposed to pieces of fiction showing monsters or assassins attacking in the dark, this idea will haunt you more often. Overseeing the series, videos, and movies that a young child sees is positive if we help prevent fears or misconceptions that might hurt them.
3. Do not use myths or fear of monsters to make them obey.
Children’s belief systems, like anyone else’s, are an interconnected whole. Therefore, it does not make sense for you to say that there is no reason to worry about the dark if at the same time you are harboring the fear of “coconut” or “coconut”. man of the sack “which is brought to bad children. Consistency must be maintained.
4. It helps to fall asleep with sleep
Just going to bed and not having fear experiences for a significant time allows little ones to become more accustomed to the dark because they know they have been in the dark many times and, without having taken “special defensive measures”, No monster attacked them.
So a few tips that you can use are to make sure that they don’t look at screens or bright light sources for the next two or three hours before going to bed, that they actually lie down when they are asleep, and that they didn’t. exercised just before.
5. If you have a pet, get it involved
The protection offered by a pet like a cat or a dog can be an intermediate step between constant parental protection and absolute autonomy. Anyway, it is highly preferable that an adult stays at the foot of the bed “Be on guard”, which only reinforces the fear of iron that highlights the times when you are on your own.