All people feel anxious at times. This is a normal, necessary feeling which God has instilled in a person for his protection. Without fear, a person would land up in dangerous situations with devastating ramifications.
Not all people are afraid of the same things. For one child, a dog causes shudders. To another child, a thunderstorm or fire alarm triggers tears. Anxiety is the result of a person’s judgment of a situation. For the most part, anxiety is aroused by a specific situation and subsides when the perceived threat no longer exists.
Fears and anxieties are normal, common and passing. Approximately forty percent of elementary school children are afraid to be separated from a parent. Approximately thirty-three percent of children worry about their competence and seek reassurance. About twenty percent are afraid of heights, are shy in new situations and are anxious about public speaking and social acceptance. In fact, research surveys have shown that as many as forty percent of children aged seven to twelve have seven or more fears. Girls are often more expressive about fears than boys, their issues usually centering on animals, illness, and injury. Boys are usually more concerned with peer rejection and academic failure.
At every stage in life, a person must master different motor, language, social, emotional and psychological milestones. For example, infants learn to roll over and babble, children are expected to read, write and socialize, and teenagers must become independent and prepare for adulthood. When the demands of life’s tasks exceed one’s coping abilities, they may become a focus of anxiety.
Fears change during different stages of life. Young children are commonly anxious about situations that involve safety, security and maturing. Adolescents are concerned about broader issues, such as performance, social evaluations, moral responsibilities and independence.