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Children's fear must always be taken seriously
Fear of going to the dark basement? Eerie characters under the bed? Such and similar fears of children should not simply be dismissed by the parents as "fancies", but should be taken seriously. If fear is rampant, those affected must be treated.
Take children's fears seriously
Children are often afraid of a wide variety of things: darkness, lightning and thunder, visiting a doctor or that their parents could separate. Many of them suffer not only from fear themselves, but also physically, for example from abdominal pain. Quite wrong would be sentences like "You don't have to be afraid of that". Rather, parents should take children's fears seriously. In an interview, an expert explains what alarm signals are and how you can help.
Up to 15 percent of all children suffer from anxiety disorders
Around ten to 15 percent of all children and adolescents suffer from anxiety disorders. The dpa news agency reports on an interview with PD Dr. Susanne Knappe from the outpatient clinic for children and adolescents at the Institute for Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy at the TU Dresden, in which the expert explains when a child is no longer just shy and how to treat those affected.
Influence other children's lives positively
Childhood and adolescence is the period when the disease develops and the time window when the risk is greatest. According to Knappe, there is a good chance that the further life of the children will be positively influenced if they are treated at this age.
It is known that separation fears or specific phobias often appear for the first time at the age of four to five years. For example, when young children start sleeping in their own room, they are sometimes afraid of the monster under the bed or the dark. According to the expert, it is perfectly healthy and normal for young children to call their parents because they are still helpless.
However, the time window is exceeded at some point, then development takes place and these fears arise. However, this is not the case with a few children, who are increasingly suffering from fear.
Detect alarm signals
As the expert explains, fear itself is not an alarm signal, but rather how long it lasts. Does it last longer than six months? Is it very pronounced, possibly accompanied by severe symptoms such as stomach ache, protests or withdrawal? Or is the fear exaggerated and occurs in situations that are actually harmless? For example, if the little ones do not want to say goodbye in kindergarten because they fear that the parents could have an accident and will not come back.
Or fear of having to walk a few hundred meters to your friend alone. Fear of speaking to other children in the playground or asking the teacher at school if something is not understood.
Treatment of anxiety disorders
The pediatrician is often the first point of contact for those affected. There is an outpatient clinic for children and adolescents at the Institute for Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy at the TU Dresden. There is also research on how to further improve the treatment of anxiety disorders.
For the current study “Children cope with fear” (KibA), children between the ages of eight and 14 are still being sought. The university provides interested parties with further information.
Under the point: "You too can conquer your fear!" It says there: "You will find out how your fear arises and better understand why you react to certain things with fear. Together with the therapist, you develop strategies on how to fight fear. Step by step you practice in small tests of courage to master difficult situations. "(Ad)