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Abnormal Fears in Children: Three Tips and some Insights




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Abnormal Fears in Children: Three Tips and some Insights

60 - 70% of all cases can be treated successfully!

One of the most common psychological problems with children is anxiety or irrational fears. The Dutch Psychologist Maaike Nauta discovered that 60 - 70% of those cases can be treated successfully with cognitive behavior therapy.

  1. All children have anxious spells. That is not abnormal.
    Whether we like it or not fear is a part of growing up. It’s a signal of danger and it teaches a child to arm himself in threatening situations. Some things in a child’s life will bring more anxiety then others - for instance changing schools, the divorce of parents etc.
  2. .How do you know if your child is abnormally fearful?
    The rule of the thumb is that if fear prevents him doing things that are natural for his age you can speak of an abnormal disabling fear. An example of this would be if your child never wants to play outside. Don’t be afraid to go to your family doctor when you suspect abnormal fears in your child. Parental worries over anxiety in their children are more often then not grounded in reality.
  3. If irrational fears seam to be the problem, enter therapy as soon as possible.
    This is crucial - the sooner a child gets help the sooner the symptoms and underlying structures disappear.

Maaike for instance is teaching children to act on their fears bit by bit. She teaches and encourages children to search for fearful experiences and change fearful thoughts into rational ones. As a byproduct, parents also learn and develop their coping skills.

This might look like a nice “by product” but is of real significance since a lot of fearful children have parents that are rather fearful themselves. Their dark outlook upon life is easily transferred to their children.

Maaike explains that this is by no means meant a criticism to the parent, but as a reality of life that can be cured and turned to its opposite.

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