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Assist your child in overcoming their phobia(s); experts help decode childhood fears and anxieties

Children often have phobias which they might continue to have even after they have grown up. Thus, experts suggest ways to tackle phobias in children while explaining the causes behind these phobias.

Assist your child in overcoming their phobia(s); experts help decode childhood fears and anxieties drb
Indore, First Published Dec 30, 2021, 7:00 AM IST
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Sometimes fear can become so extreme, persistent and focused that they develop into a phobia - a condition in which a person suffers from a deep inexplicable fear of an object or situation. A type of anxiety disorder, phobia lasts for a long time and has no logical reason. And not just adults, but children also suffer from this disorder.

Nivedita RS Panwar, a counselling psychologist said that phobia can also be 'genetic' in nature. Speaking to this reporter, she said, "It (phobia) can occur through several ways. It can be genetic; can come through friends or through bad experiences. Since the pandemic, children are suffering from some phobias such as social anxiety disorder, separation anxiety disorder, and panic disorder.”

Explaining further about the genetically transferred phobia, Vini Jhariya, a psychologist from Indore said, “If a mother is afraid of lizards, then it may be that the same fear develops in the child as well. At the same time, a frightening first encounter with a situation or an object can also develop a phobia in a child.”

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Dr Ashutosh Singh, psychiatrist at Apollo Hospital, Indore says, "Phobia in children is an irrational fear and it is the same as in children and in adults. Children do experience fear from time to time while they are growing up. Anxieties are almost an unavoidable part of growing up when the young ones are out exploring the world around them and are exposed to a new set of challenges and experiences. " 

Different symptoms of phobia are seen in children, which may differ from person to person. These include increased heart rate, sweating, feeling suffocated, chest pain or discomfort, upset stomach, dizziness, fear of losing control or going crazy, fear of dying, and muscle twitching.

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Some facts about phobia(s):
•    It may last for at least six months.
•    Phobia in children, largely affects the age group of 12 to 18 years.
•    To overcome a phobia, family therapy is the most preferred therapy suggested by psychologists. In this, the child undergoes counselling sessions along with his/her parents.

'Roughly 15% children suffer from some phobia': According to Vini Jhariya, roughly 10 per cent to 15 per cent of children are suffering from some sort of phobia(s). She further said that it is fairly common for children to have a phobia. “Before the pandemic, not more than a couple of children cases would come in a month’s period. However, the number, since the pandemic, has now reached at least 10 cases a month,” Jhariya said, adding that the pandemic has also had an impact on children in terms of developing phobias.

Things to remember as a parent:
•    There are certain things or situations that adults may not find threatening, but they can sometimes instil fear in children.
•    Be more patient while dealing with your child during their anxiety and panic attacks.
•    Making fun of the child or forcing them to confront their fear will only make things worse.
•    Your child’s fears can be tackled if you encourage them to share their feelings with you more often so that you can make them feel a lot more comfortable by talking about it.

(as suggested by the psychologists)

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