Children's Fears: Simply Spooked or Serious Phobia?

All kids get spooked, but did you know that as many as a quarter may suffer from a more serious disorder? What's normal -- and when do you need help? (9 Photos)

Gail Saltz on Oct 18, 2010 at 4:51PM

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Children's Fears: Simply Spooked or Serious Phobia?

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Fear Factors

Halloween tends to bring scary subjects to the surface -- especially for kids. A normal part of life, childhood fears typically arise out of an upsetting experience (like being bitten by a dog), hearing or seeing something disturbing, or they can simply be conjured up in your child’s imagination.

Fears that don’t seriously interfere with your child’s life -- the fears your little one learns to cope with -- can actually be a healthy thing. They cause a child to become more cautious and resilient when dealing with life's difficult situations. But when does a fear become something more? Those that prompt kids to significantly alter their lives are considered phobias. For instance, concerns that make your child want to avoid places (like school) or daily activities (like bathing, sleeping, eating) should be addressed by a mental health professional.

Here, seven common fright-inducers -- and how to help your child overcome them.

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