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How to Deal with Your Child's Phobias

Learn how to deal with your child's phobias in this Howcast video about child anxiety issues.

Transcript

[I'm gonna talk about how to deal with your child's phobias. Now phobias we always think about maybe as an adult being, "I'm scared of heights," or, "I have a phobia or fear of elevators." Well, children can actually develop phobias as well. It's when their anxiety or fears are extreme. What happens with a phobia is when you're so worried about something, you avoid it. It becomes something that you're phobic about, so you don't want to go near it. And what happens is sometimes you have a reaction that signals there's something terrible that's going to happen. Your body gets into this state of hyper awareness or your heart is racing, or your palms are getting sweaty, or you're breathing fast. And when that happens, your body is saying, "Oh, something dangerous is going on," or, "Something dangerous is happening out there." The reality is it's not and so your body is overreacting in some ways. And sometimes your mind is then also saying, "This is dangerous. This is terrible. Something bad will happen."

Now sometimes kids outgrow phobias. Sometimes what will happen is kids will become so scared of something that they avoid it, or they avoid things related to it, or they avoid situations where they might be near it. Maybe it's bugs or spiders, or maybe it's cartoon characters, or clowns. But what happens when it's a problem is that it interferes with their life. So they're not going places because they're afraid that they'll interact with whatever that thing is. And when that happens, you need to sometimes get professional help to figure out a way to gradually help that child be around, or with, or exposed to the thing that they're scared of, learn how to control their thoughts and their feelings. And then they will find out that it's not so scary, and that they in fact can manage their fears and they won't have to avoid different things. And they can live a much fuller life.

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