When Children Are Afraid of Being Alone
“The fear of being alone is quite common among children. They like to have their parents by their side and know they have their attention”
When do children become afraid of being alone?
Primary emotions are innate in all human beings. Fear is an emotion that, while it may seem complicated at first, is necessary for survival. Children acquire primary emotions, such as fear, through direct experience.
The main reason for this claim is that fear allows us to save ourselves from risky situations that life sends our way. The feeling of terror varies depending on age and personality type. Some children are prone to be more fearful than others.
Normally, the fear of being alone appears in children between the ages of 2 and 4. This fear arises in relationship to other types of fears, such as fear of animals, masks, costumes, the dark, etc.
However, this fear that is so common among little ones, is proven to disappear gradually with the passing of time. Children want to feel older and one way they accomplish that is by doing things on their own.
How to help children who are afraid of being alone
Below is a list of suggestions that we want to offer to help your children get over their fear of being alone:
- Give them time to play alone in their rooms without our constant presence.
- Allow your children to complete tasks on their own. This can be something simple such as making a purchase at the grocery store and walking into school alone. What’s most important is that we let them know they have our support.
- Prepare your children for new experiences they are going to experience. For example, you can use a story.
- Ask your children about their worries and allow them to talk through their fears.
- Teach your children to own their emotions and help them control them adequately.
- Don’t force your children to face their fears. This may only produce anxiety and anguish.
- Don’t minimize what your children are experiencing. It’s important to remember that you can’t keep your children from feeling certain emotions. All human beings have the right to express our feelings, including fear.
How do children who are scared react?
When babies are afraid, they often become startled and cry. Later on, besides crying, they try to avoid the cause of their fear at all cost. Furthermore, they seek the company of an adult to protect them.
Sometimes little ones simply experience some sort of change in their usual behavior. For example, they may display some sort of aggression in their conduct. Some children wet the bed or regress to sucking their thumbs when they are experiencing fear.
Fear in children doesn’t necessarily need to be a cause for alarm for parents. However, if any of the following apply to your little one, then you should consider talking to a professional:
- Intense and persistent fears
- Your child’s fears are getting in the way of his or her development
- Your child’s fears are negatively affecting his or her daily life, studies, family, etc
- You and your child are having a hard time knowing how to handle the situation
Fear of being alone can be complicated for children to overcome. However, when they see that they need to solve things on their own, they’ll learn that they are able to do so. In this sense, the support and guidance of adults is fundamental.
However, if someone always does everything for them, then they’ll always expect others to solve their problems for them.
Fear in children can actually turn into an enriching experience for children over time. As their fears gradually fade away, they are replaced with a sense of strength and knowhow. Children gain the resources they need to face any situation that may come their way.