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Anxieties and Fears in Children-Part 3

Looking at Phobias

Robbin Koenig said from the last part: “anxiety is something that I have often seen in my early childhood classroom.  Separation anxiety is the first one that I observe at the beginning of the school year.  I developed a teaching unit on monsters to help young children relieve some of their insecurities.”

However, when anxieties and fears persist, problems can arise.  We hope the child will grow out of it but sometimes the opposite occurs.   This anxiety becomes a phobia or a fear that’s extreme, severe, and persistent.

A phobia can be very difficult to tolerate.  The child, the parents, the teacher and those around them see the anxiety occurring from whatever the cause and it is hard to avoid (e.g., thunderstorms, dreams, fear of animals, loud noises, being left alone, inconsistent discipline, toilet training, bath, bedtime, monsters and ghosts, bed wetting, disabled people, death and injury, fear of darkness and imaginary creatures and stranger fear.)

“Real” phobias are one of the top reasons children are referred to mental health professionals.  Basically, children who do have phobias at an early age usually develop into normal adults.

Leah Davies agrees and adds “in telling them the facts and giving them the opportunity to confront their fears at their own pace and with your support.”

A note about nightmares and night terrors next week!

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