What happened inside TSK’s brain and body when he is afraid:
The fear chemicals were released and went to certain parts of the brain to get ready for what would happen next. In some people the reaction is to make them “freeze”, and in others it is to make them run or move. Most young children have no control over these chemicals. Many older kids and adults don’t either.
The most important thing that happens with fear is the release of Cortisol. Cortisol helps in the short term, because it helps the body and brain get ready for any new problems. BUT, if TSK feels fear often, or can’t stop feeling afraid, the Cortisol stays high in the body and can cause serious damage. Too much cortisol can cause troubles sleeping, later problems with memory, and even diseases like heart disease and maybe some diseases, like arthritis and diabetes are caused or made worse with too much cortisol
What to do to help TSK deal with the Fear reaction:
Watch closely to see if you can tell when TSK is afraid. Be sure to remove TSK from a dangerous place as soon as possible.
- Make eye contact with TSK
- In a soft, reassuring voice, tell him you love him and you will keep him safe
- Cuddle him and soothe him
If you can’t personally do these things, for whatever reason, find someone who can as soon as possible!
Be sure that NO ONE every laughs or makes fun of ANYONE who is afraid; this makes the cortisol levels stay higher and can cause more harm.
Fear can lead to a long-term problem, called Anxiety! Some people are more prone to this, and can’t control it, though some people can learn to control it, and in some people it may be preventable, if recognized early! Ask your pediatrician if you have questions!