Help Your Foster Child Handle Their Phobias

It may seem strange that children have to deal with phobias at such a tender age, but according to research, specific phobias already surface from age seven and social phobias from adolescence. There are many reasons for children to develop a phobia, whether it’s a rational fear of something or apparently irrational. Sometimes the fear might be due to a vulnerable situation, and sometimes the fear is picked up from the fears of others. Those who have a vulnerable background tend to display fears and anxieties, along with depression and other physical signs of their upbringing. For caregivers, dealing with these fears can feel somewhat challenging.  

Understand The Difference Between Fears, Worries, and Phobias

It’s perfectly normal for children to have slight worries or fears about certain things or events, however, when the reaction becomes severe and irrational, this is when it’s classified as anxiety. For children, anxiety can be disabling and to a certain degree, cause other medical conditions. If this is the case, it’s important for the parent or caregiver to seek medical attention. While psychiatric care is often recommended, there are also instances where the condition is caused by other medical conditions that could be serious, which is why extensive medical tests are recommended.

Support During The Phase Of Vulnerability

Children often associate certain events and situations with feelings of vulnerability. While these events can be carried well into adulthood, proper management in the early years can prove to be a great boost and completely remove all doubts, fears, and anxieties. Professions that have gone a long way to promoting a happy experience for children include visits to the hair salon or dentist. A fashionable hair cut or color-coordinated braces go a long way to promote the cool factor, which can turn a scary visit right around. For parents or caregivers, it’s important to spot a fear or phobia, as the method of alleviating the discomfort might be different. In both cases, however, it’s important that the child has the opportunity to face their fear in a controlled environment and, little by little, build up the courage to face it with confidence.  

Life After A Phobia

Once a fear no longer just seems like fear and you’re convinced the child has a phobia, it’s important to start treatment. Treatment may vary from medication and counseling to role playing and scenarios in order to alleviate the symptoms. Talk therapy is known to achieve quite a bit in terms of remedial action and is used during counseling sessions. Even with a phobia lurking overhead, children can still live a fulfilling life. Over time, there is the possibility that the child will grow out of the phobia or simply learn to handle it a little better without any remnants to place a damper on their day-to-day lives. While there is no known way to prevent a child from developing a phobia, parents can help by providing plenty of love, support, and nurturing. Even in this environment, although not usual, children may be overly sensitive to certain scenarios.

Although it might be hard for parents and caregivers to see a child suffer from fears and anxieties, especially when this goes over into a phobia, there are ways to manage these fears. Treatment, therapy, and a nurturing environment all play their part.

Jennifer Dawson