Common Fears Among Children According to Age and How to Treat Them

It’s pretty well-known that children are afraid of more things than adults, and understandably so. From the moment a child is born, the world is something completely new to them and their brains aren’t developed enough to understand lots of things. It’s not until they grow and mature that they learn what’s real and what’s not as well as what to be afraid of and what not to be afraid of, based on the guidance their parents give them.

Being an adult, it’s so easy to forget what it was like to be a child and afraid of certain things. We forget that children experience fear at a much more intense level than we do too. As parents, we also forget how impressionable our children are too. Sometimes we put our own fears on our children before they even have the chance to not be afraid of it.

For example, a child could see a bug outside for the first time and not think anything of it, because they don’t know what it is… they might even pick it up to examine it some more. Your reaction to that bug is going to determine how they react to it as well. When seeing that bug, if you scream, it will automatically let the child know to be afraid of it simply because you are. That reason right there just goes to show how your children mimic everything you do from a very early age, so leading by example is especially important when they’re very young.

With children being so impressionable at a young age, it’s safe to say that as they grow older, the fears they had as a child do eventually fade away but the actual fears don’t go away… they simply graduate into bigger and more realistic fears and some of those fears go with them into adulthood, as you already know. There is no adult who isn’t afraid of something. The severity of those fears is what separates it from being a fear and a phobia, and that goes for children, teens, and adults.

If you have a young child or teen, here are some common fears they have as well as the different ways you can help them overcome those fears.

Fear of the Dentist

Fear of the dentist is very common among people of all ages but it’s especially common in children. If you think about it, going to the dentist can be a scary place for children… they hear the drills going, there’s a funny smell, and it doesn’t help that they see ann of these sharp tools in the office too. But taking your child to the dentist is something you have to do as a parent to make sure they have good dental health.

Dental procedures like cleanings aren’t too bad for kids but procedures like pulling teeth can be very traumatic to a child, so it’s understandable why they’re afraid of the dentist. According to, 75% of adults are afraid of the dentist. Luckily, there have been many innovations in dentistry now that have eased the fear of kids of all ages.

If your teen needs braces, they now have the option of Invisalign braces, which are a popular choice among teens. It straightens their teeth without the appearance of having braces on. For children that are severely afraid of the dentist, there is sedation dentistry for kids too. The key to helping your children overcome their fear of the dentist is to find a dentist office that specializes in working with patients who have a strong fear of the dentist.

Fear of the Dark

Being afraid of the dark is typical in children between the ages of four and six. It’s ultimately a fear of the unknown. In their mind, when the lights are on, they feel safe because they can see everything around them. But when the lights are turned off, they can’t see what’s around them and they don’t feel safe. It’s almost as though the room transforms into a scary place when the lights are off.

You have to assure them that there’s nothing there. You can check all the scary spots with them to actually show them that there’s nothing to fear. Places like the closet and under their bed are the common places that children fear the most when it’s dark in their room.

Fear of Going to the Doctor

Lots of children are afraid of going to the doctor simply because it seems like every time they go, they have to get some kind of shot or have some kind of something done. It’s understandable because when they’re young they have to get all of their shots and vaccinations. But they’re especially afraid, if they’ve been diagnosed with some type of condition because that means more frequent trips to the doctor.

It can be a very traumatic experience for young children. Going to the doctor so much can cause them to be afraid of needles, afraid of the building the doctor’s office is in, and to be afraid of the doctor themself. The doctor’s white coat triggers fear in them too. As a parent, you want to take the time out to do your research to find the right health care provider.

Fear of Monsters and Ghosts

Fear of monsters is a fear that kind of goes hand-in-hand with fear of the dark. Fear of monsters is something that’s definitely learned. Children aren’t born with a fear of monsters instilled in them. Their minds are heavily influenced by what they see on TV and what they hear around them.

They might go to school and learn from a friend about some urban legend or myth. While they’re at school they might play it cool but when they get home and the lights turn off, they are terrified, thinking about what their friends said at school earlier that day. As parents, it’s your job to talk to them about what’s real and what’s not so that they’ll be able to not be swayed by what others tell them.