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Fears Children Face

The following fears are some of the most common developmental fears children face. If your child exhibits these fears, take him seriously, but don’t give him excessive attention.


The first year: Fear of strangers and separation from parents are primary fears. Other fears involve sudden loud noises, falling, animals, sleep, and the doctor.

The 1-year-old: Many of the fears of the first year continue. Others that develop are of the dark, thunder and lightning, toilet training and the bath.

The 3-year-old: Fears of new situations, the dark, dogs, scary noises, and separation from parents may continue. New fears revolve around the child’s developing imagination. Fear of monster is common.

The 4-year-old: New fears involve bad thoughts and loss of control, such as bad-wetting. Primary is the fear of losing a parent.

The 5-year-old: Many of the earlier fears persist, but they are based more in reality than previously. Losing mother or the caretaker parent remains the primary fear.

The 6-year-old: Fears are more intense and specialized (big dogs). Fears of monster, ghost, wild animals, sleeping or staying alone, water, and separation from parent are common. The 6-year-old is also afraid of bodily injury and will often often exaggerate minor injuries.

The 7-year-old: Normal fears include supernatural beings, the dark, things seen on TV or in a movie, shadows, heights, spies, burglars, adoption, being late to school, new situation and social rejection.

The 8-year-old: Many of the fears of the year before continue, but the 9-year-old is more likely to worry about the situation, often making himself face his fear as a means of resolving it.

The 9-to 12-year-old: Most fears revolve around realistic situations such as test in school, crime in the neighborhood, being left alone, natural hazards, bodily injury to self or loved ones, physical appearance, and social popularity.

The teen years:  Typical fears include snakes, heights, the dark, deep water, getting lost in the woods, and being alone. Primary fears concern, social performance and sexuality.

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