The dead of night is a time for us to rest and regain our energy, to fall asleep at ease and wake up naturally is something that many people look forward to. Under normal circumstances, as the sun goes down, the proportion of blue light received by human eyes decreases, and the body gradually enters a state of preparing for sleep. But not all people can enjoy the ease brought by darkness. Some people have a strong sense of fear of darkness, and they can’t sleep in the dark comfortably.
Especially it is more common for children to be afraid of the dark. Many children worry about the existence of monsters in the dark or in places they can't see, and they don't feel as good as the monster below.
Then why are children afraid of the dark, and how to improve this problem?
Many parents have talked about their children suddenly becoming afraid of the dark and afraid to sleep on their own. As long as they turn off the lights, they begin to worry.
Parents often think that children should not be afraid. After all, the children have not encountered any very dangerous things, nor have they stayed up late to watch horror movies. What is there to be afraid of?
But in fact, from the age of 2-3, most children will gradually start to fear the dark, which is quite normal. The reason why the fear of the dark appears at this stage is that the child’s psychology happens to develop into a "transition zone"-at the stage of birth, the child is mainly trying to familiarize and understand the world without imagination. By the age of 2 or so, children begin to have the ability to imagine, but at this stage, children's psychology is not yet mature, and they cannot distinguish between imagination and reality like adults.
Darkness means unknown to anyone, and the unknown is the most important source of human fear. Therefore, for children at this stage, darkness becomes the object of fear in the imaginary space where they gradually grow rapidly and do not know how to control.
Because it is difficult for children to distinguish between imagination and reality, and it is also difficult to describe their imagination in accurate language, sometimes parents will feel that their children’s fear is "strange", and try to use various "supernatural" methods to interpret and deal with these fears. But in fact, most children's fear of darkness can be solved gradually. The first thing to consider is to understand from the child's psychology.
First, try to understand where the fear in the child's imagination comes from. The root of our imagination comes from the things we touch every day. The same is true for children. The things they imagine often come from the things and information they come into contact with. This may come from information in the media, or from a story in a picture book.
In fact, it should be noted that children’s acceptance and understanding of information is often different from that of parents. Therefore, sometimes the content that parents feel is normal may have different psychological feedback from the child. These content may come from movies, animations, or news or other media information.
Therefore, if you suddenly find that your child is beginning to be afraid of the dark and have related fears, first try to communicate with your child patiently, instead of forcing them not to be afraid, or even criticizing and scolding them.
For children, fear itself is a fresh, disturbing physical state. Parents can talk to their children about related topics first, and talk about fear is actually a normal state of mind, there is no need to worry or be ashamed. Everyone will be afraid, let the children recognize and understand their own psychology, and then try to solve the problem together.
How can the problem be solved?
Every child is unique, and every family is different. Therefore, to solve the problem of fear of the dark, parents also need to flexibly try and adjust according to the child's specific situation. However, there are some more general suggestions for solving the problem of fear of darkness. You can use them as a reference.
First of all, parents should keep calm and communicate with their children, and try to guide the children to calm down their emotions. Because the focus of psychological counseling should be to provide children with a sense of security to resist fear, rather than aggravate children's stress. Some parents feel frustrated and helpless about their children's fear of the dark, and feel "why are they afraid of monsters". So when communicating with children, they can't help but show accusations and even make fun of them. However, if the parent’s emotions are more agitated or negative, or even start to think wildly, then the child’s emotions will naturally be affected, and related psychological problems may be aggravated instead.
In addition, parents should use a more honest attitude to face and solve. Many times parents will subconsciously use the way of "coaxing their children" to comfort them, for example, "When Mom and Dad are there, there will be no monsters", "If you are a good child, and not cry or make trouble, the monster will not come", "I have driven away all the monsters, so don't be afraid." These coaxing remarks will actually deepen the children's awareness of "monsters really exist", and will prolong or even aggravate the children's fear of darkness.
Unless the parents themselves really believe in monsters, they should be serious and firm, but be gentle and calm, and explain to the child that there are no monsters that he is worried about, and patiently accompany him to check all the places he is worried about, and let him gradually accept the fact that there are no dangers and fears in the dark.
If the child is afraid of the dark, some small adjustments can also be made in life. For example, don't watch too much TV at night, especially when your child goes to bed, and content with more intense plots. When choosing reading materials before going to bed, try to choose soothing and relaxing content to avoid stories that may trigger your child's negative associations.
Although we said earlier that you should not reinforce the impression that there are scary things and monsters in the dark with your children, parents can give their children some "weapons" and "armours" to "protect themselves" and improve their sense of security. For example, leave a small night light, a blanket, his favorite toys, stuffed animals, etc. These may effectively alleviate children's fears and help them fall asleep safely.
It should be noted that when children face changes in the environment or family, they are more likely to have psychological changes similar to fear of the dark, such as moving house, death of relatives, death of pets, divorce of parents and so on. The psychological anxiety caused by these changes may have many expressions, and fear of darkness is one of the more common ones.
If parents can give their children support, comfort and help, the children can gradually relieve their fear of darkness within a few weeks, but if it is due to the psychological anxiety caused by more serious family changes, or the fear of darkness has not improved for a long time, it is recommended that parents consult a professional doctor for detailed consultation and seek help.