Phobias in Children
Phobia is probably the most common experience in humans, where it is more prevalent in children of all ages. This might seem very concerning,
On the other hand my research shows that:
experiencing too much anxiety causes debilitating, out of proportion state that might produce a specific fear of some sort. These could turn into phobia causing enough hardship to compel the little one to exhibit extreme behaviour. This might include avoidance of the feared object or situation; panic attacks involving trembling, disorientation, rapid heart rate, etc.
Given the wide range of feared objects or situations it is vital to discuss the etiology or the origin of phobic reactions. What are the triggers or rather how our children come to experience themselves as uncontrollable and fearful in certain situations.
I've witnessed some not so extreme behaviours from children. For example, it's worth mentioning that recently a 5 ½ years old boy I know demonstrates unusual for him behaviour where he refuses to go up his room without accompanied either by his little sister, mom or dad. Having investigated the issue I've come to understand that the boy had fears of “monsters” and “ghosts” , apparently all coming from behind the door or cabinet. Going back, I've acknowledged the fact he was allowed to watch series of cartoon movies where cute chipmunks are being chased by a wolf-man or a Halloween ghost.
In other cases we might see a child being unable to cope with a fear of spiders or snakes, for example. There are those who could never go out and speak in front of a public. And there are also children who might become absolutely avoidant of dogs or strangers. So what are the causes?
There are many theories explaining the origin of anxiety and phobia, including the psychoanalytic, behavioral and cognitive one. I'm not going to delve into all these as I'm not entirely sure how much my readers will be happy to read about. What I will consider is what my observations are and what theorists explain as learning or the ways in which phobias are acquired.
What does that mean? In some cases the child learns how to fear something because they felt the danger of it. In this case the child is too afraid to stay and fight it, so he runs away from it. In other cases phobia could be learned. This happens when the child witnessed somebody's reaction towards something unpleasant, so he began modelling that reaction.
In the first instance we see a little boy or a girl who might become afraid of the dark because they felt anxious once they were in a dark situation. After this occurrence the child connects A+B to get = C which is the feeling of anxiety. This is how phobia is acquired in almost all of the cases.
In the second case we have a mom who shows negative emotional reaction after seeing a dead rat or a snail ( as it is in my case ). The child observes carefully her reaction and gradually starts behaving like his mom on encountering the rat (not yet my situation).
There we have these two instances where the child might get caught in a phobic reaction chain that could be spared by mom or dad ( at least by the modelling example).
So what exactly could be done? Well, for one, the child could benefit from not being exposed to conditions that are anxiety provoking. If this happen, it is worth explaining to the little one he is in no danger. If he still feels this way, try eliminating the danger by creating a little game where the “bad” thing vanished into the air or in a secret box (that sure helped at home). Also, your child doesn't need to know what your fears are, so sparing them your real emotions on the sight of frog, is a MUST!!.
It's easier saying than doing! But also, why not keeping your child away from emotional responses that will get them highly affected and paranoid. If we know what causes phobia and how we can prevent it, then that's a start, because it is devastating looking at a young struggling soul that isn't equipped well to cope with his own agony.
If you have a child who has a phobia, do give me a ring so we discuss what options are available in minimizing fears and anxieties.
Daniela Marinova is a Cognitive Hypnotherapist who specializes in helping clients overcome Anxieties, Fears, Phobias, as well as enhancing client's confidence level while taking back control of their life. She has extensive experience in this area and particularly in helping expectant moms to experience more positively the birth of their child. Get the full story and reap the rewards TODAY at http://www.richmondmindtuning.com