Social psychologist Mona Darwish: Many parents believe that the best solution is to leave the child alone to deal with his fears and treat himself. But this solution can be the cause of more serious disorders.
beirut- Childhood is one of the most common stages of life in which fear occurs, as many children suffer from intense fear during sleep. This fear can be accompanied by screaming, intense crying, begging and sudden awakening, which frightens the child in his bed.
The second problem that millions of children suffer from is the fear of the dark. The question here; How did the child’s brain get the idea that there is a monster when it is dark? And how should mothers deal with their children’s fear when and during sleep?
Be a kind and firm mother
“I don’t want to sleep alone in my room, I’m afraid of the dark, there are monsters that will kidnap me.” These are the daily repeated words that Jad says to his mother, and Lina Nahhas – Jad’s mother – tries to calm him and that nothing deserves this fear, but sitting for long periods of time watching horror movies, and scary reports about djinns and monsters gave him many nightmares.
This prompted Lina to prevent him from watching these channels and delete them, then let him understand that they are not true and realistic, so that they do not remain in his imagination and affect his psyche.
She was very understanding and patient with him and tried to treat and confront this fear in the best way, which is confrontation and that all these things are not realistic, and restore his sense of safety and lack of anxiety. But this case took a long time with the help of a psychiatrist, and in the end she managed to return her son to his usual self.
One of the most important things that “Lina” adopted in the treatment of her son was; Reduce pressure on him by avoiding watching movies that include horror scenes, talk to him about his problems at school or with friends and try to solve them, maintain family stability without any family dispute happening in front of him, and hug him repeatedly to make him feel safe while you read helpful stories to him before bed.
Nahas says: “The mother must be gentle with her son and firm at the same time to get a positive result that rids her child of the fears he goes through during that period.”
Dealing with fear in healthy ways
Social psychologist Mona Darwish believes that it is very important to calmly talk to the child about fear and give him confidence in his ability to overcome it. This is what happens by listening to him and talking to him, and telling him that fear is something that is natural and expected of real things.
And she continues, “Although we as adults know that ghouls and wonderful monsters do not exist, a child cannot easily imagine the absurdity of believing in the existence of such terrifying things, especially when he has the very sources understand of such terrifying thoughts entering his mind and thinking.
And the psychologist confirms that “it is normal for the child’s fear to increase at night and when he sleeps. It is normal at that time that he begins to express his need for his mother and his desire to be with her, specifically to sleep next to her . her in her bed. What is required of the mother is to show the child closeness to him and to surround him with care and her sincere feeling of what he is suffering.” It is good for him to understand that it is natural for him to seek. for his mother and safety with her, and that his mother will be with him and by his side, but the mother must not go too far to respond to his requests, specifically to sleep with her in her bed, and she must gently resist request and kindly, because sleeping in her room is permanent. That won’t solve the problem.”
A warning to mothers
Specialist Darwish indicates that it is wrong to address him by saying, “I will look under the bed to prove to you that there are no monsters, or if I were a healthy and upright boy, I would not wasn’t afraid of the ghoul.” because it indirectly gives the child a feeling that his fear has a basis. Or that the thing he’s afraid of might be around him.
The child should also be kept away from watching horror movies in general and fairy tales before going to sleep, or from intimidating him for not sleeping.
In addition to not forcing him to sleep in a dark room if the child feels afraid of the dark, and not insisting on turning off all the lights during sleep, but light lighting can be used, and around the room door leaving it slightly open, it gives him a sense of comfort and more security.
It is wise to be around the child and give him sympathy, without going into any details, when he wakes up terrified from a nightmare. Beware of blaming or yelling at the child during this situation. And communicate with him through touch, that is, the child should be hugged and held by his hand to feel safe and reassured, and not to leave his bed to feel that everything is fine.
Darwish recommends trying to uncover the psychological, social and educational problems the child is experiencing, and the mother should show maximum patience in dealing with the child.
Yelling, punishment and neglect are considered unwise methods, and although they make the mother comfortable, they make the child restless, and sleep disturbances can accompany him for life.
In addition to trying to do activities during the day that focus on improving the child’s confidence, building his personality, learning new skills and encouraging him to face his fears at bedtime.
Darwish believes that there is no child who does not have a toy or something closely related to him. The mother should find the child’s favorite toy and place it next to him in bed as a companion, and this gives him a sense of comfort and safety.
Common mistakes in the treatment of fear
Darwish points out the common mistakes in the treatment of fear of sleep in children, which are widespread methods, such as the inherited folk methods of teaching a child to sleep on their own, but unfortunately, these are some of the wrong and failed methods that fear and psychological stage. disorders in children, the most important of which are:
Clear the room of monsters: One of the wrong ways to treat a child’s fear when she sleeps is when the mother resorts to cleaning the room of monsters before going to sleep, and this method can give the child a sense of security to the begins to give sleep, but it undoubtedly strengthens his belief in the presence of monsters in his room, and doubles his fear and increases the chances of panic Nocturnal and intermittent sleep due to fear.
Fixed bedtime routine: Maintaining a consistent routine for children, however, is not considered a major part of treating a child’s fear at bedtime. Trying to force a sleep routine on a child can instead contribute to reinforcing his fear of sleep.
Child Deception: What tells him you won’t leave him alone in the room, that he should just try to sleep, and then come out as soon as the baby falls asleep. This method is very bad and causes him more harm than good. The child must understand that he will sleep alone, and you can promise him to come back once or twice at night to check on him, no more.
Leave the TV on in the child’s room: It is not advisable to have sound in a child’s room. Relaxation recordings that are distributed on the Internet should also be avoided. The child should sleep in a quiet room with very dim or dark lighting.
Negligence Many parents believe that the best solution is to leave the child alone to deal with his fears and treat himself, but the truth is that neglecting the child and letting him live with his fear of darkness, monsters and evil people can help him to conceive. a solution, but this solution can be the cause of more serious disorders, including some sexual disorders