All children can experience fear, especially at night, but the fears of an gifted child can be quite intense. The fact that your fears are intense should come as no surprise talented children Are intense in almost anything . Sometimes gifted children can become so frightening that they almost become debilitating. .
Some causes of fears
Fears can be due to several factors. Some fears are the result of traumatic experiences. These types of fears are beyond the scope of this article.
Although some of the strategies discussed here may be helpful, fears arising from traumatic experiences may require professional treatment . Children who witness violence, for example, should talk to a therapist or counselor.
More often than not, childhood fears can be the result of an active imagination. Gifted children who have an emotional overexcitation and an overexcitation The imaginative can be particularly susceptible to these fears and can feel them very intensely. .
Young children will imagine monsters in the closet and thugs under their beds. Moving shadows cast by curtains blowing in the breeze from an open window can make a child imagine an invisible creature flying into the room.
Even children old enough to recognize the difference between fantasy and reality can sometimes become frightening.
Older children develop social fears like the fear of speaking in front of groups. This type of fear can also be the result of an active imagination. A child can imagine the worst thing that can happen to him, such as tripping on the way to the front of the classroom, making a mistake or laughing.
How to help calm your fears
Telling a child that their fears are unreasonable or simply saying «Don’t worry» will not help the child put those fears behind them. If it were that easy, few children would be afraid. Instead, offer your child a variety of strategies to use to deal with his or her fears. Here are some things you can try to calm them down.
Use your imagination
If a child’s fears come from a living imagination, you can help him learn to focus his imagination in a positive way. For example, a child who imagines monsters in the closet or thugs under the bed can use the same imagination to persuade warriors or angels to come and run monsters and thugs.
Work with your child to help them understand how to use the living imagination in a positive way.
Practice when your child is not afraid, such as during the day. Ask your child to talk about what he imagines is happening in those scary moments.
Then ask your child to think about what might happen to improve the situation. A child who imagines monsters In the closet, for example, you could try to imagine a knight coming to fight and drive away the monsters.
Your child may have a favorite hero or heroine, and if so, your child may call on that hero to come and help defeat the imagined villains. Children who are able to imagine frightening events are able to imagine positive results from these events.
For kids who are fans of Harry Potter, talk about the «Ridiculous» spell. It is another way to focus the imagination to remove fears. Instead of calling for a hero to come to your aid, your child can imagine his monster and then imagine something that makes it fun.
Older children whose fears focus more on public social situations, rather than monsters at home, can also use this strategy. A child who can imagine people laughing at them while giving a speech, for example, can learn to imagine people cheering.
In this case, it is a matter of positive thinking. Negative thinking leads to imagining negative results, while positive thinking leads to imagining positive results.
Regardless of a child’s age or type of fear, this strategy takes time to develop. Negative thinking and focusing on fears cannot be changed overnight.
Certain types of accessories can help scared children cope with fears. For example, choose an accessory that can be used to alert the forces of good to help fight monsters or other terrifying creatures. This accessory can be a small bell or a stuffed animal that makes noise when squeezed.
Ringing the bell or squeezing the animal serves as a call for help, but it is also a signal for the child to activate his imagination in a positive way. This type of accessory works well in combination with the use of imagination.
A water bottle filled with water is another accessory you can use. Have your child keep this bottle handy at night, when he is usually scared.
Tell your child that the bottle is filled with a magic potion that evaporates or scares monsters and other evil creatures. This strategy is most effective for younger children, although older children can use their imagination to make this strategy useful.
For example, an older child may know very well that the bottle is filled with water and that there is no magic potion, but you can explain that imaginary magic potion works just as well on scary imaginary creatures. Again, help your child learn to focus their imagination to create positive rather than negative situations.
Accessories can be almost anything that comforts a child. Even a toy phone can be used to invoke the forces of good. It all depends on the child and what they find stimulates his imagination.
Older children can bring lucky coins or special charms that you have offered. The accessory itself is not important. The approach that the accessory offers is important.
For example, if fear occurs especially at night, some children may feel better about it night light . Other children may find that shadows caused by night light give their imagination only more to eat.
In these situations, your child may need more light. Having the lights off is not necessarily the best condition for children with hyperactive imagination.
If you are worried that your child is getting used to sleeping with the lights on, remember that it is rare for children to go to college and have to sleep with the lights on. It is important to help your children cope with their fears without stifling their imagination.
A word from Verywell
There is nothing worse than watching a child fight their fears. As a parent, you want to do everything you can to ease your worries, but it can be a challenge when these fears seem irrational. Instead of being obsessed with your child’s imagination causing him to experience extreme fear, focus on what you can do to help.
Help your child capitalize on that strong imagination and put it into action for them, and soon their fears will become a thing of the past. If your child continues to struggle with fears, talk to your child’s pediatrician. They can give suggestions and identify any issues that could cause fear.