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Validating young children's feelings and experiences of fear
Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood (2003)
  • Reesa Sorin, James Cook University

Children experience a wide range of emotions, from happiness and excitement to anger and disgust. When children are happy, their caregivers encourage their expression of happiness and often join in to share this emotion with them. Yet when they are angry, afraid or disgusted, often children are encouraged to suppress or change their emotions. This is particularly true of the emotion of fear. While parents and caregivers currently employ a variety of strategies to respond to fear in young children, some of these methods may be positioning children in ways that increase their fears or invalidate their feelings of fear altogether. Well-intentioned parents and caregivers may be unaware of the effect that messages such as ‘there’s nothing to be afraid of’ or ‘don’t worry, you’re safe with me’, could have on children. This article examines a range of adult responses to children’s fears and the effectiveness of these responses.

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Reesa Sorin. "Validating young children's feelings and experiences of fear" Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood Vol. 4 Iss. 1 (2003)
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