Common Childhood Phobias

There are so many different child phobias that I couldn't possibly name them all.  However, some of the more common ones are the fear of vomiting (emetophobia), the fear of medical related things (shots, dentists), the fear of weather related phenomena (storms, earthquakes), and the fear of certain animals/insects (dogs, bees). 

School Phobia???

Also, a number of children have a fear of going to school.  But that is not an official phobia in itself.  There are reasons that a child does not want to go to school and those reasons can be related to a variety of different things, some anxiety-based and some not. If they are anxiety-based, then we will treat the anxiety. 

We all have phobias

Most every child (and adult) has some sort of phobia or another.  But every child obviously does not need treatment.  Treatment is only called for if the phobia (or any type of anxiety for that matter) is getting in the way of the child living their normal life.    

For example, the fear of snakes is a very common one.  But, few city dwellers, even those with a snake phobia, are too concerned because they don't generally come across snakes... unless they willingly view them in a controlled environment, such as at a zoo or science museum. 

Just a phobia???

Often if you dig a little deeper, a child with a phobia often has other patterns of fearful thought.  But, the phobia is the fear that is the most noticeable and that the child can best articulate, as it's very concrete. 

Of course, there are exceptions, such as a child who didn't have a pattern of fearful thought, but then gets bitten by a dog and develops a dog phobia.  


Let's look at emetophobia, or the fear of vomiting, as an example of how a phobia can include more than meets the eye.   Often, but certainly not always, this fear is more about social anxiety.  Many times a child with emetophobia is most worried about being judged or embarrassed if they were to  throw up in front of their peers at school.   In this case, the phobia often dissipates after-school on Friday afternoon when the child arrives home for the weekend. 

the content doesn't matter

Above I have provided some information about childhood phobias.  But, the type of anxiety that your child experiences is not what we will focus on in treatment

That's because anxiety operates the same way regardless of its diagnostic category.  These categories merely describe the type of things a particular person tends to worry about.    

And focusing on the content of your child's worry is not helpful.

What is helpful is to focus on how worry itself works and to teach your child a new way to respond to it. Your family and child will learn all about this concept in treatment.

Does that mean that we're not going to work with your child around his or her specific phobia?  Of course not!  But, we will do it in a way that can be generalized to any other worries or phobias that your child may have now or down the road. 

The great news is that once children understand how worry works, they will be equipped to manage worry, as its content shifts and changes as they grow.    


Helping Anxious Kids is here to support your family.  If you are seeking anxiety treatment for your child and my approach resonates with you, schedule an appointment today.