Monday, March 9, 2015

Fears around one year

Babies and their fears

Babies of a year may become fascinated with one thing for several weeks on - for instance, the telephone, planes over head, electric lights (in my case, the wash machine). We should let them touch and become familiar with objects that are not dangerous or disturbing. It's also wiser for us, parents, not to play up to their interest, or, if it's something dangerous,not to dwell on the danger. It's better to distract them with something else, then to increase their awe.

At this age babies may be frightened by strange objects that move suddenly or make a loud noise, such as folded pictures that popup from a book, the opening of an umbrella, a vacuum cleaner, a siren, a barking jumping dog, a train, etc.
Try not to have these startling things too close to 1-year-olds until they get used to them. If the vacuum cleaner bothers them, try not to use it for a while, at least while they're nearby. Then try it the first time when they are some distance away.


Fear of the bath

Between 1 and 2 years, a child may become frightened of the bath, because of slipping under water, or getting soap in the eyes, or even seeing and hearing the water go down the drain (my little girl has 3 years old and she's still frightened of the bath). To avoid soap in the eyes, soap with a washcloth that is not too wet and rinse several times with a damp but not dripping washcloth. There are also special shampoos for children that sting less.


Fear of the darkness

At 1 year old, babies change their personality a little bit, and they are aware of more things. Of course baby's fears depend on the way they are raised by their parents. Fear of the darkness is normal in some circumstances at this age, but, sometimes, parents don't realize that they raise them in a negative way (we don't generalize here, there are exceptions). For example, we often tell our baby the word "don't...", when we actually should find a positive way to guide him (for example, "you'd rather..."). In some instances, when parents want to have a good control of a 1 year old baby, who started walking and exploring, they tell him "don't go there, because there is a dog/witch/bogeyman...". This is a wrong approach on the situation, because fears are born from this type of education, and the baby will fear the darkness until late ages. And he could never get used to sleep alone in his room. So, what if someone tells us not to go in a certain house, because there are ghosts? How should we react? For someone who doesn't believe in such things, it's easy; but for people who watch this kind of documentaries or they truly believe in ghost stories, it would be terrifying to enter that house, or even stay at home all alone at night. So, parents should think that babies at this age are experiencing new things, and they should be raised only in a positive manner, learning them that everything is normal (sleeping alone in his own room, entering a room where the light is turned off, darkness its ok when they are in a safe place like home, etc). The words "monsters", "bogeyman" or similar words should not exist in a parent's vocabulary, but only words of fairytales ("fairies", "angels", "elves", etc).
Sometimes babies just need to be held in your arms, and just like us, when we fear to stay in the darkness, or walk alone at night, for example, he needs to avoid such things and be distracted by others. It's difficult to postpone the bath time, but we simply should make them forget for one day or two about it, and think about a better method for our child's bathing in the meantime. My daughter hates water in her eyes or ears, but now, we've found a method when washing her hair: she puts on her sunglasses, and fingers in her ears when cleaning her shampooned hair. This is our method, and it worked for the moment.

Babies who have fears shouldn't be forced at all to do anything and should be raised in a positive manner.


Text source: Dr. Spock's Baby and Child Care -Beanjamin Spock and Michael Rothenberg