Many people experience phobias, and in most cases they are completely irrational and brought on by experiences a person had in early life, or any kind of trauma. There are however, some phobias, particularly in children that are very common and caused by less irrational factors. Here we take a look at five common childhood phobias that are grounded in reality:
Heights are considered to be a natural fear that is experienced by children (and adults) of all ages. While not everybody experiences a fear of heights, and most people don’t experience it to the degree where it actually become height=”auto”s debilitating and prevents them from doing things that involve going to high places or flying, the fear of heights is believed to come from a natural survival instinct. As many people have often joked, it is not so much a fear of heights, but a fear of falling. The fear of heights is commonly referred to as vertigo, though this is not to be confused with the medical condition vertigo, which is a problem with the inner ear that can cause lack of balance and dizziness.
Many anthropologists also believe that a fear of snakes is in some way ingrained in humans. While some more religious people attribute this to biblical symbolism, which depicts the snake as a symbol of evil and malevolent cunning, more rational explanations explain that deadly snakes were a problem in all early civilizations, and the fear of snakes has therefore evolved with people, affecting people who grow up in places that don’t even have any native dangerous snakes. Of course, in some children, it could just be because of the way snakes are used in the Harry Potter stories!
Many children fear the dentist because their parents do. The dentist is a top fear in adults, who have usually at some point experienced a painful or at least intimidating experience with dentistry, however most children, unless they have particularly bad teeth, are yet to experience things like fillings or root canal surgery, so for them having a dental check up should be no more terrifying than a trip to the hairdressers. The wider culture, as depicted on TV, generally makes the dentist out to be an unpleasant and scary thing, and this inevitably causes anxiety in children who have no reason from their own sphere of experience to be scared.
The dark is another fear that has natural, primal roots. In the past, humans needed to be wary in the dark – their environment was very threatening, and they couldn’t fight or run away from what they couldn’t see. For children, who don’t understand or know much about the world around them, that sense of the unknown is amplified in the dark, which is why they often find it scary and prefer to sleep with a nightlight.
Most children are, at one time or another, concerned that monsters, ghosts, witches or other supernatural creatures exist and pose a threat to them. This is again, a result of the fact that children don’t know enough about reality or the world to be able to assure themselves that these things definitely don’t exist. In the same way they can believe in Santa Claus despite the illogicality of the story, they can easily believe that monsters they have heard of in stories or seen in movies are real.
Children also have difficulty at times in understanding when they are dreaming, so nightmares can seem very real to them and they can become height=”auto” convinced they really have seen monsters in their real waking lives.