Scaring the Monster Away: Children’s and Parents’ Conceptions of Coping Strategies to Deal with Children’s Fear of Real and Imaginary Entities

Scaring the Monster Away Children s and Parents Conceptions of Coping Strategies to Deal with Children s Fear of Real and Imaginary Entities Preschoolers often experience intense fears when encountering real animals or imagining frightening entities Despite the pervasiveness of childhood fears previous research has not systematically expl

  • Title: Scaring the Monster Away: Children’s and Parents’ Conceptions of Coping Strategies to Deal with Children’s Fear of Real and Imaginary Entities
  • Author: Liat Sayfan
  • ISBN: 9780549665922
  • Page: 164
  • Format: NOOK Study eTextbook
  • Preschoolers often experience intense fears when encountering real animals or imagining frightening entities Despite the pervasiveness of childhood fears, previous research has not systematically explored the development of children s understanding of coping strategies to lessen fear or parental ideas about the best ways to manage their children s fears This dissertationPreschoolers often experience intense fears when encountering real animals or imagining frightening entities Despite the pervasiveness of childhood fears, previous research has not systematically explored the development of children s understanding of coping strategies to lessen fear or parental ideas about the best ways to manage their children s fears This dissertation includes three studies that lay a critical foundation for this new research enterprise Ninety six 4 5 , and 7 year olds children heard a series of short stories about different characters encountering things that looked like real a bear, a snake, an alligator, and a shark or imaginary creatures a witch, a monster, a ghost, and a dragon Children predicted how a child and his or her companion a friend, a mom, or a dad would feel Study 1 , suggested ways to deal with the fear responses Study 1 and 2 , and evaluated the effectiveness and safeness of several coping strategies Study 2 A consistent picture emerged from the two studies Between the ages of 4 and 7 children shifted from relying on their imagination to control scary thoughts positive pretense to relying on their knowledge about the reality of the creature reality affirmation In addition, regardless of age, children were cognizant about the role of the mind in changing the way one thinks and feels about imaginary creatures compared to real ones In a third study, 97 parents rated the likelihood they would employ several different kinds of strategies for helping their children feel less afraid, chose the best and worst strategies, and suggested alternative approaches In real threat situations, parents most often stated that fleeing the scene was the most appropriate strategy In contrast, they thought that the best way to deal with imaginary threat situations was to focus on the reality status of the entity e.g tell the child monsters are not real Together, the current studies provide an exciting new window into young children s construal of different frightening events and the ways the mind can mediate and moderate these fears.

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