Most of us likely expect we will demonstrate fearful tendencies about things we can’t control or understand. We often concentrate on the fears we face as adults, but logic suggests that the fears we have in adulthood may have started as a child. This is a list of some of the most prominent fears among children today.
Universal Fears Among Children
10. Public speaking
Many children are comfortable allowing their parents to speak on their behalf. They may have been told not to speak to strangers and they can equate this warning with the need to fear. Many schools encourage public speaking as part of the curriculum, but children may need to know that you want them to be comfortable speaking around others – especially adults.
Children can be fearful of any animal – large or small. They may be very frightened of a barking dog or hissing cat, but they may also express profound fear of a mouse. Parents can help children learn caution while seeking to reduce the overall fear they may experience.
8. Monsters and ghosts
Sometimes introduced by fairy tales and movies there can be a profound fear of creatures we can’t see, but fully believe exist – especially in the dark. The Pixar movie Monsters Inc. did a great job of creating a few positives in the world of ‘monsters’.
This is an unknown and very frightening thing for children. They may have attended the funeral of a family member or friend. They recognize this takes people away from those who love them and this can become a fear they don’t talk about.
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6. Being alone in the dark
For children the imagination comes to life with the lights go out. This can be spiders, monsters, ghosts or animals. Hearts can race and your child may even cry when the lights go out.
These are the people with the shot needles. These are the men and women that make children take medicine that tastes awful. These are the people that are only seen when you don’t feel good. Most are negative associations that can be taken into adulthood.
These events can be watched on television and the Internet. Adults may watch to keep in touch with what’s going on, but the effect on children often goes unnoticed. They can come to believe that the world is not safe and may in fact be falling apart. Again, children may not talk about it, but they do think about it.
3. Personal danger
Children hear about not talking to strangers and they may experience bullying in school. Your child may conclude they do not exist in a safe environment and it will only be a matter of time before they are hurt.
2. Loss of a parent
This is a big one for kids. They are likely aware of children who have lost a parent to illness or because they are a soldier. They can become very anxious whenever a parent leaves the home. They can even experience separation anxiety.
The biggest fear children face is the divorce of their parents. In most cases they love both parents and don’t want to be separated from either. They will try subtle and not so subtle means to keep their parents together, which is often why they blame themselves if the marriage is dissolved.
- Respect your child’s fears.
- Understand that your child will outgrow most fears.
- Allow your child to gradually work through the fear.
- Understand fears in relation to your child’s personality.
- Be aware of the variety of fears children experience at different ages. (Source: ag.ndsu.edu)
The fears your children experience may never be verbalized so it may take some conversation nurturing to find out what your child might be thinking. Remember their private thoughts are serious business to them so laughing at their concerns serves two very negative purposes; 1) they won’t willingly come to you again when they are concerned and, 2) leaves them feeling humiliated.
Many childhood fears can be minimized, but it might need help from observant parents to find the fear and work to minimize its impact.