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    Fears & Phobias

    Find out all about phobias in children and what can you do as a parent 

    Written on 19 June 2019

    One of the most worrying situations for parents is when their child is suffering from any kind of phobia as it could have detrimental effect both in the short and long term. Let us understand more about phobias in children and what can you do about it.

    What is phobia - A phobia is a medical condition where a person suffers from fear and anxiety of any object or situation for a significant duration of time. Phobias are a kind of anxiety disorders and can be faced by both children and adults. Some common phobias in children include:

    • Specific Phobia – The child feels anxiety or fear in a specific situation. Some such situations include flying, heights, water, animals, insects etc.

    • Panic disorder – A panic disorder induces a sudden feeling of fear, anxiety or nervousness and can lead to very quick increase in heartbeats.

    • Separation anxiety – In this condition, the child is severely scared and nervous of getting separated from the parents.

    • Selective mutism – A child suffering from selective mutism is nervous and afraid of speaking in a certain situation such as a large gathering or event.

    • Agoraphobia – Agoraphobia leads to fear of being alone in open spaces and can also lead to a panic attack in the child.

    Causes of phobia in children – There are different reasons and factors that cause phobia among children:

    • Mental disorders and conditions in the family especially parents and grandparents.

    • Negative, violent or traumatic experiences early in the childhood.

    • Some physical conditions or specific medicines can also cause phobias especially anxiety issues.

    • Genetic disorders can lead to specific phobias being passed on from the parents to the child.

    • The environment or the people around the child also play a key role in a child’s mental development and anything negative can cause phobias.

    Can phobias be treated – Phobias or anxiety disorders in children are tough to diagnose and need comprehensive medical and psychiatric examination. The parents have to play a key role by observing and analyzing the presence of consistent feelings of anxiety of any phobia related behavior in the child since an early age. They can try to address it on their own or seek qualified medical help in case the child doesn’t respond. A child can be helped and guided to recover from phobias by early diagnosis and treatment such as medicines or therapy but the parents need to be aware and on a constant vigilance.

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