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Resources to Help Kids Thrive Newsletter

What is a Specific Phobia?

A weekly update of content from childmind.org featuring parenting advice, in-depth articles, and the latest thinking on children’s mental health and learning disorders.

March 14, 2023

Everyone gets scared from time to time. But some children develop fears so intense that they obsess over a specific object or situation, even when they’re not around it, and go to extreme lengths to avoid it. If you notice this in your child, they might have a specific phobia. These phobias can include a wide range of things; some common ones are dogs, insects, storms, heights, blood, and flying. Kids with specific phobias may cry or throw a tantrum to avoid the thing they’re afraid of. They may experience panic attacks when confronted with it. And while they often seek reassurance from their parents, it unfortunately won’t be enough to assuage their fears.

This week on childmind.org, we take a closer look at specific phobias, including possible causes, treatment options, and what you can do to help your child. We examine different types of specific phobias, such as agoraphobia and fear of vomiting. We also provide guidance on what you can do when your child is anxious.

Related Resources

What Is a Specific Phobia?

When extreme fear gets in the way of daily life.


Agoraphobia in Children

When kids avoid certain locations because of a fear of something bad happening.


Fear of Vomiting

Shame and secrecy complicate a phobia common in children.


What to Do (and Not Do) When Children Are Anxious

How to respect feelings without empowering fears.


Panic Attacks and How to Treat Them

The fear and avoidance they inspire can be seriously impairing.


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