It isn’t uncommon for children to have fears until they grow up. Sometimes these fears are realistic, sometimes they aren’t. But sometimes a fear is something more, that is when it becomes a phobia. A lot of people don’t believe that a child can have a phobia but they most certainly can. What phobias can a child develop?
What Is A Phobia?
A phobia is when a child is afraid of something specific for a period of six months or longer. These fears exceed what your average person would define as a normal reaction. A phobia disrupts the normal life of a child. In a general sense phobias can be a person, place, thing, or situation.
Common Phobias Among Children
- Confined Spaces
- Getting Sick
- Having a Family Member Get Sick
- Needles or Medication
- Specific Animals or Insects
- The Dark
A child may also suffer from separation anxiety disorder, the fear of being removed or lost from their parents.
Causes of Phobias
Phobias are caused by a number of factors. It depends on the child. Here are the most common reasons that children develop phobias.
Neurotransmitters in the brain are responsible for sending signals back and forth. When these neurotransmitters aren’t working right it can cause a number of things to happen in a child’s brains. One of those things is the development of a phobia or phobias.
A child can inherit phobias from their parents both by genetics just like any other trait. They can also learn them by seeing their parents exhibit the same phobia.
Incidents that happen around or involving the child could also cause a phobia. This is especially true if the child has been through a traumatic experience. But an incident doesn’t necessarily have to be negative to trigger a phobia. Going to a new school or even reading a story can lead to a phobia under the right conditions.
Different Types of Phobias
Children experience a number of different types of phobias. These types of phobias exhibit differently and have different names. Take a look at the different types of phobias.
When most people think of phobias they think of specific phobias. This is when a child experiences fear and anxiety over a specific object or event. A child will go out of their way to avoid a specific phobia, often in ways that don’t make sense.
Agoraphobia is a fear of open spaces and is a common fear among children. It can take the form of being afraid of large outdoor areas or even just being left in a home without someone else present. Agoraphobia leads to panic attacks.
A panic disorder is when a child experiences sudden, unexplained moments of fear. Fear presents itself in the form of a panic attack with shortness of breath, lightheadedness, shaking, and a rapid heartbeat.
Social Anxiety Disorder
Social Anxiety Disorder is another one of the common panic disorders that are suffered by children. It is the fear of being in a social setting with their peers or a specific group. Sometimes it is generalized, other times it is towards specific social events such as having to give a speech or perform.
Some children develop the fear of talking in social situations. Usually a specific social situation. When this happens they don’t talk and it affects their social standing with their peers.
Separation Anxiety Disorder
Some kids are afraid of being separated from their parents or another figure that plays a major role in their life. The fear of being detached from this figure leads to abnormal effects on the child’s life.
Children of all ages and all walks of life can experience phobias. Even phobias that may sound funny or ridiculous to us as adults. It is important that we treat these phobias as serious conditions if they are serious to the child. If a phobia is preventing your child from living their lives, it is something that you should seek professional help with. A social worker, counselor or therapist are great places to turn.