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Childhood Fears and Exposure to Violence

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Your child may seem anxious about everyday things. School-age children usually have a number of fears that began in their early childhood, such as fear of ghosts, of the dark, or of dying. Every child's fears are different. Parents may not recognize that some behaviors are based on fears.

Children this age try to deal with, minimize, or get rid of these fears. They may do this by pretending to be heroes or villains, by watching scary movies, and by acting tough and fearless. Some children may want to learn all about the things that scare them. They try to overcome their fear by becoming experts on the subject.

Some children may respond to fear by wanting greater control over things that scare them. They may enjoy fantasy shows and books where the characters are brave, smart, and clever and have unusual powers. For example, they may like shows and books that feature superheroes.

It can take time for children to stop believing in scary things, such as ghosts. Comfort and reassurance from parents can help. As children get older, most of them let go of their fears.

Helping children deal with their fears about violence

Most children are exposed to violence on TV, in movies, and in other media. Some children may experience violence directly. Here are some ways you can help them deal with their fears.

How do children react to violence?

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:

Credits for Childhood Fears and Exposure to Violence

Current as of: October 24, 2023

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