Fear of the dark is very common among children, and also quite natural. The fear may stem from any number of causes, real or imagined, but in any case should be addressed by the parent with reason and respect. We should never treat such fears as ‘just being silly’. Understanding how and why a child fears the dark is the first step in helping to allay the fear. To that end, let’s look at 10 common reasons why kids are afraid of the dark:
- The unknown. Children, just like adults, are prone to treat what they don’t understand or can’t identify with suspicion and fear. Adults often mistakenly assume that children, being innocent and as-yet untarnished by the world, have no reason to sense fear. That’s simply not true.
- Imagination. One of the reasons kids are capable of such fear is that their imaginations have begun to develop to such a degree that they are now capable of imagining danger and perils they’ve never actually experienced.
- Being Left Alone. Consider the fact that children most frequently encounter darkness just when they’re being left alone by their parents for the night, to go to bed. The darkness therefore coincides with abandonment in the minds of some children.
- Attention. In some instances, kids will express fear and trepidation at going to bed or being alone as a means to garner attention. This is exacerbated by parents who give in to a child’s pleas to sleep with them, or stay in their room with them.
- We Fear What We Can’t See. The shadows are dark, faceless areas and to a child unable to assimilate them into his reality assigns scary qualities or even entities to them.
- Night Blindness. For some kids, the inability to see is a quite clinical condition which literally keeps them in the dark. They simply can’t distinguish figures or details in low light conditions, which makes them more apprehensive.
- The Fear is Instilled In Them. Convincing a child that the Boogeyman will get them if they don’t behave isn’t the best way to promote well-behaved kids. It will only justify their fears. Parents should recognize that the child’s fear is real, without giving her reasons to believe that what she fears is real.
- Kids’ Minds are Clear to Fear. What that means is that kids don’t have the distractions presented by adult cares. Their active minds, fueled by imagination, can dwell freely on just what those noises and shadows are.
- Scary Movies – A constant diet of films depicting bad things happening to people in the dark isn’t exactly therapeutic for a child who already fears the dark. A child will only outgrow such fears once he has been satisfied that the fear in unfounded.
- Real Fears. – For some kids, fear of the dark is indeed justified by their own real-life experiences and observations. They have had, or seen, bad things happen at night and so develop a negative association with the darkness.
Fear of the dark is far from unusual. Even many adults still have some fear of the dark, though to most it is of little consequence in their day to day living. All you can do is reassure your child that you are there if they need you, and perhaps offer a nightlight.Taken From Live-in nanny