Fears are very useful emotions that for hundreds of thousands of years have helped us to avoid all kinds of threats throughout the evolution of our species and to be cautious in unfamiliar, risky or dangerous situations.
Ahora well, one of the characteristics of emotions is that they are not limited by the logic of reason, and that is why they sometimes appear or disappear in such a way as to get us into trouble, especially if we do not know how manage them. And in the case of fear, we are relatively prone to undergo it in situations where it does not bring us benefits: times when we are not exposed to real dangers, but, in any case, only to dangers. imaginary.
Knowing that in the first years of a human being’s life, our capacity for abstract and rational thought is limited and we have little information about how the world works, it is not surprising that many children often suffer childish fears. These are stressful and distressing experiences that, if not handled properly by parents, can affect their quality of life and prevent them from learning on their own. So in this article we will talk about the most common fears of children and its characteristics, so that it is easy to understand why they occur.
What are the children’s fears?
In the early stages of child development, it is very common for boys and girls to develop specific fears that are more or less intense depending on their personality traits and their way of being; fears that make him avoid supposedly dangerous, risky or unknown situations.
These fears can be experienced in objectively harmless situations during their growthsomething perfectly normal and which can support their healthy intellectual and emotional development.
In a certain sense, children’s fears are useful: they serve to prevent the ignorance of the little ones in the house from exposing them to dangerous situations, and from straying very far from the parents (or at all cases, that they do not move away through contexts that they already know well).
However, many of these fears can be nurtured over time, which in the long run has a very negative impact on the physical and psychological health of the child or adolescent.
In this article, we will focus on these maladaptive fears that significantly affect the mental health of the boy or girl, as well as the main characteristics of the most common childhood fears.
There are a series of fears in children that are generally shared with greater prevalence in small and pre-teen boys and girls; let’s see what they are.
The most common childhood fears
Intense fears in children tend to appear most frequently between the ages of 3 and 6; however, maladaptive and heightened fears can also be experienced at other ages that visibly affect the child’s physical or psychological health.
Because children’s fears can change as a child’s development progresses, here we present the main fears associated with each stage of a child’s growth.
1. Between 8 and 9 months
Babies who are between 8 and 9 months old usually show great fear or anxiety of strangers. It is at this stage that they begin to develop the ability to identify familiar faces; however, the faces of strangers frighten and disturb them.
This fear can be solved by the parents, by helping the baby to feel safe and by making him sleep in his own room from 5 months so that he does not develop an excessive dependency.
2. Between 10 months and 3 years
Around the age of 3, babies generally develop a fear of abandonment which can vary in intensity according to their personal characteristics. This fear or separation anxiety occurs whenever they have to separate from their parents and it causes them great discomfort..
This usually happens when we leave the baby at daycare or when his parents need to be away from him for a few hours. At such times, the child may refuse to let his parents go and cry profusely.
Although this reaction may be normal in some children, the problem can arise when this fear of abandonment lasts for several years and continues to present a fear of separation from parents.
3. At the age of 4
Around the age of 4 years generally appears the fear of the dark, one of the most shared by boys and girls throughout the world, whose catalyst is being in dark rooms with no lights to see your surroundings.
It’s a fear that can be solved by leaving a small light on in your room and which can become problematic if it lasts more than 2 or 3 years in the child’s life.
4. Up to 6 years old
Between 4 and 6 years old, it is common to be afraid of unreal things or beingssuch as the presence of monsters or any other fantastic or mythological creature.
This fear is due to the fact that the child is not yet able to distinguish what is real from what is not, so he may feel threatened by all kinds of terrifying creatures under his bed or in the closet. from his room.
5. From the age of 7
Boys and girls over 7 years old they begin to develop fears about things that can happen in real life, however unlikely they may be.
For example, at this age, they are usually worried that there is a stranger in the house who may harm them, that a loved one may die, and that a traffic accident or natural disaster may occur.
In addition to this, some other childhood fears that are triggered at this age are related to fear of exams or school performance and fear of not fitting in with classmates.
6. During adolescence and preadolescence
During the period of adolescence and preadolescence, it is common that fears are mainly related to social problems.
These fears are generally the fear of not having friends, the fear of one’s physical image, the fear of not fitting in at school or institute or the fear of failing in school, sports or in love.