Some of the most common phobias kids and teens suffer from are based on fear of placed, animals, high places, insects, the dark, thunder and lightening and death.
Nyctophobia is a fear of the dark. This is a common fear in young children both boys and girls. They fear something is lurking in the closet or under the bed when the lights are turned off. There is a monster or ghoul waiting to get them at night when they are asleep. This is often caused by watching a frightening movie or scary TV show.
Sometimes kids see shadows on the wall because the streetlight or moon shines through the blinds,shades, or shutters. Most kids that have this fear feel it is very real so laughing or ridiculing them is not a good way to help them get over it. Don’t play into the fear and make it worse by letting them disrupt the evening with long periods of sleeplessness.
Often kids with this phobia feel much more frightened in a dark room than others. Being alone in the dark makes them tremble, perspire, and even feel like running out of the room. This is one of the most common fears that children have.
Start by explaining that ghosts, monsters in movies, and TV shows are not real.Explain how an overactive imagination can conjure up ghost in the right setting. Some parents use a night lamp so that the child feels safe knowing a small light is on. It can be an adjustable light or one with a dim light. Tell a story that is not scary before they fall asleep or play calming music or a relaxation tape.
Try not to let the older children sleep with you when they have this fear. Make them tough out the evening in their own room using some of the above techniques. I Don’t let young children watch horror and violent movies or TV show. Finally reward child when they sleep through the night or stay in their room despite their fear.
Feeling of abandonment is another one the most common childhood phobias. Sometime it comes from the death of a parent or divorce when the child is young. A parent that does not spend enough time with their child sometimes causes this problem too. Moving too often can create the feeling of lack of stability leading to a child being afraid he might be left alone. Sometimes a new baby or spouse can make the child feel that they are not important any more. When the attention is taken away the child can feel abandoned.
Fear of animals, snakes, and insects occurs in young children ages 2 and 3. It is another of the most common phobias of children. It often occurs in older children when a negative experience happens. Sometimes seeing something in the movies or on TV can be the cause. Children often fear larger animals because of the size. . Most often this fear in children happens when they read or see something about the creature on TV. Some children grow out of it but others need some help with the problem.
A way to treat the problem is to have the child read about the animals whether it is a dog, spider, or snake. They have to learn about their fear and look at pictures. The xext step is have them observe a dog, spider, or snake from a distance with someone or alone. Don’t force the child to pet the dog or pick up the insect just observe it from a safe distance.
For insects fake bugs can be used so the child can get used to playing with them. It can take the fear out of seeing insects. Some can learn to handle snakes at a nature center or insects. With a class and other children they can learn to conquer their fear. A child afraid of dogs might want to start by handling and observing puppies. A dog trainer can often give you tips on overcoming fear of dogs to use with kids.
Another common phobia is fear of social situations. Children are often afraid of being embarrassed or being judged by others. This can lead to fear where they don’t want to speak in front of a class or even go to the mall with friends. This can interfere with making friends and having relationships with others. Often a form of cognitive therapy helps children with this problem.
Other Common Phobias in Children
A fear of heights is often common in both boys and girls. It is often more prevalent in girls and comes from seeing movies about heights or actually touring tall buildings or driving over a bridge in a car. It can comes with a fall from a tree or other high places. The fear can cause dizziness, sweating, and other symptoms There are other fears related to this disorder but this one is called acrophobia.
Often those with this fear may look for something to hold onto, get down on all fours, or bend down when too high up. Even being in a building in a room at a height can be a problem. This phobia should be treated with cognitive therapy or systematic desensitization. Often medications are not required but finding ways to control the child’s reactions. Qualified professionals can help and sometimes medications are needed.
Claustrophobia is fear of enclosed spaces. Children have a fear of small rooms, elevators, closets, and bathroom. Small spaces may make the child feel panicky, sweaty and like bolting out the door. Some kids even find it difficult to breathe. This can lead to kids avoiding bathrooms, elevators, small rooms and even using seat belts. Being constrained gives them of feeling of being tied down.
Claustrophobia can limit a child’s life leading them to stop doing what they enjoy. They often miss out on events due to their fears. The causes a fear is often unknown. Cognitive behavioral therapy and often medications helps with this problem. It is important to treat this problem as it can get worse as the child gets older.
Astrophobia is a fear of thunder and lightening. This is common in children and teens often it develops when they are younger. Children may cry, sweat, hide in the closet, or under the bed. The symptoms are often heightened when you are alone. Often children outgrow this fear and it should not be treated as a phobia but a fear.
If parents are afraid of storms often children will pick this up from them. Try to distract them by watching movies, making popcorn, or playing some board games . When the fear continues then treatment is required for this fear. Cognitive therapy may help giving a child soothing messages to repeat during a thunder and lighting storm. Even visualization exercises might calm the child’s fears.
There are many different phobia that children and teens can get. The most important part of dealing with this to get some type of treatment and deal with the problem. Phobias left to chance often develop into a serious problem in later years. Don’t ignore the problem deal with it early so that your child can overcome their fears. There is effective treatment for the most common phobias.
Talk to your kids about their fears and show some empathy. Try to explain that everyone has fears but they can learn to put them behind them. Never ridicule them in front of peers or other children making light of their fears only makes the problem worse. Be patient when a child has to learn to overcome a fear it takes time and sometimes they need professional help.
Phobias in children cannot be prevented they are caused by a variety of factors that often cannot be controlled. Often children ages 0-2 years are afraid of loud noises, strangers, and separation from parents. Children 3-6 are afraid of monsters, ghosts, sleeping alone, the dark, and strange noises. Children 7-14 are afraid of performance, death, illness and disaster.
Symptoms of phobias range and are varied. Many include pounding heart, sweating, trouble breathing, chest pain or tightness, trembling or shaking, dizzy, churning stomach, hot or cold flashes, sweating, panic, need to escape, and feeling like your going to die.
Consider getting treatment for your child when a phobia caused disabling pain, anxiety, and panic. When you see the fear as excessive and it has lasted more than six months. If it makes the child avoids normal activity and interactions then professional help is needed. These are some tips to follow on the most common phobias.