Imagination causes fear
Psychiatry, Psychosomatics & Psychotherapy
Anxiety and standardized fears
All children are sometimes afraid or go through periods of fear, which at certain points in development must also be viewed as a natural process. Development-related fears usually accompany a time of change; they are then mostly caused by the fear-inducing effect of new perceptual stimuli, with a simultaneous lack of knowledge of real events and the underestimation of one's own coping options.
While fears in small children mainly relate to current events in the immediate vicinity, their ability to abstract as well as their ability to reflect on past events and to differentiate between fantasy and reality grow with age. Maturation-dependent or so-called physiological fears often disappear on their own when the child has passed through the developmental stage and has been able to get used to the new situation.
Age-usual fears in childhood and adolescence, which most children experience in varying degrees
|0 - 6 months||loud noises|
|6 - 9 months||Strangers|
|9-12 months||Separation, injury|
|2nd year of life||Imaginary characters, death, burglars|
|3rd year of life||Animals (dogs), being alone|
|4th year of life||Darkness|
|6 - 12 years||School, injury, illness, social situations, thunderstorms|
|13-18 years||Injury, illness, social situations, sexuality|
Table modified from "Developmental Psychiatry", Herpertz-Dahlmann, Resch, Schulte Markwort, Warnke, Schattauer-Verlag 2003
Technical support: Prof. Dr. med. Johannes Hebebrand, Essen (DGKJP)
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