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Childhood Fears and Phobias

Childhood Fears and Phobias


In a child’s world, there are his parents, guardians and trustworthy relatives who take care of him/her. The child feels disturbed when something or someone makes changes in this world. Now the change could be a person he/she is not familiar with or a loud noise or an unknown object. This leads to fear. Every child has some kind of fear, irrespective of their age.

Fear of darkness, of being left alone in the dark, is a common fear. So is the fear of animals. Some children are afraid of fires, high places or thunderstorms. Others have fear regarding burglars, kidnappers or war. If there has been a recent serious illness or death in the family, children become anxious about the health of those around them.

These fears if continuous, persistent and are extreme, turn into phobias. When fear begins affecting a child’s day to day life and controls what the child does like refusing to go out and play, not letting his/her parents out of his sight, or avoiding social events ...that is when you know that the child has some phobia. Phobias create feelings of fear so intense that they disrupt the child’s daily life and routine. They go far beyond the ordinary fears of childhood and do not subside even with reassurance from parents, guardians, siblings or relatives.

Understanding your child’s phobia is the first step to overcoming it. It’s important to remind the child that phobias are common.

Some common fears that preschoolers have are:

1. Noises that occur in the middle of the night scares them.

2. Nearly all fear in kids begins from being afraid of the dark.

3. Fear of dogs.

4. Fear of being separated from parents.

5. Fear of thunder or lightning.

6. Fear of bugs.

7. Fear of imaginary monsters

Here are a few tips parents can use to help their children:

1. Motivate your child to talk about his/her fears and phobias.

2. Instead of forcing your child to confront the reason for their fear, whether it is an object, animal or person, help him/her slowly adapt and be exposed to it.

3. Don’t wave off your child’s fears. Your child should not feel that you don’t take his/her fears seriously.

4. Be sympathetic. Explain that all young children have fear but they can conquer it with support from loved ones.

5. Do not belittle your child for having fears.


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