Children – fears – their causes and treatment

Children can have various fears that are often difficult for adults to understand. Image © NiDerLander – Fotolia

Dr. Doris Wolf, psychotherapist

Children suffer from anxiety just as adults do. We can distinguish two causes of child fear:

1. Fears that every child experiences during their childhood, such as the fear of darkness, of being alone, of loud noises, strangers or animals.

These fears occur at a certain point in development and usually disappear on their own during the course of development.

2. Fears that arise due to unfavorable living conditions. So fears can arise when

  • the child through the birth of a sibling feels neglected,
  • the parents often quarrel or separate,
  • a parent is irascible and unpredictable,
  • the child is sexually abused,
  • a parent or close relative dies,
  • the parents themselves are very scared.

What to do if your child is scared?

In any case, your child needs understanding. Shouting, laughing, berating as a coward, threatening bad consequences and simply pushing into the fear-causing situation are unsuitable methods.

Tell your child that you understand that they are afraid: "I understand that you are afraid. You can fear overcome, when you face it I will help you with that".

Are you a role model and discuss with your child how you can deal with fears.

Together with your child, seek out the situations they are afraid of.

Start with the easiest situations, and then slowly go into more difficult ones.

Later, slowly withdraw and let your child go to the situation alone and deal with it.

Save up Not you with praise.

Even fairy tales and stories in which a "hero" coping with dangerous situations can be helpful and encourage the child.

What therapy options are there??

As with the treatment of adult anxiety, behavioral therapy is also used in children.

In addition, family therapy is often used.

Where can I get further help??

If you have tried a lot without success, are discouraged or overwhelmed, or are afraid of doing something wrong, then contact a local, state or church educational counseling center or a child psychotherapist.

family therapy

Family therapy treats not only the child with behavioral problems, but the entire family.

Together with the therapist, the family investigates the question: What does the child’s problem mean for each and every one of us? What would happen if the child no longer had the problem?

Everyone makes their contribution to the family and helps to shape living together.


Strengthen your child’s self-esteem

If a member has a problem, it is because of how the family members treat each other.

The child’s problem affects all other family members.

The aim of the therapy is to work with the family to develop new perspectives and approaches to a problem so that the child no longer needs the problem.

Family therapists usually work in a team and, if the family agrees, record the conversations on video.

The costs of family therapy are usually not covered by the health insurance companies.

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Thank you for giving me your time. I have been helping people deal with personal problems for 35 years. I find a balance to my professional activity in Nordic walking, meditation, Jin Shin Jyutsu and the baking of delicious cakes & biscuits.


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