Fear and Anxiety

Anxiety arises when we have a continuous stress in our day to day. For example, we will feel stress before a project that has to be delivered next week at work, and we will feel anxious if we have important projects every week and with a very demanding delivery date. It is important to identify stress when it arises to learn how to handle it in a way that prevents it from becoming chronic and interfering with our emotional health.

The most serious consequences of continued stress and anxiety in children and adolescents are:

  1. Separation anxiety

  2. Fears and phobias

  3. Social Anxiety

1. Separation anxiety

Many children feel anxious and nervous on their first day of school. However, if this fear persists for weeks and also occurs in other situations where the child separates from his parents, surely he is developing separation anxiety.

   The anguish of separation is manifested by cries and tantrums on the part of the child when his parents go to work or leave him at school. Sometimes he even worries because his parents don’t have anything bad happen while they are away from home. This fear usually occurs in children between 6 and 11 years old, although the most common is that it occurs in girls around 9 years of age.

   To help our child overcome separation anguish it is important to help him cope with separation moments with less anxiety. For them we can resort to leaving our son alone for a short time, so that he becomes accustomed and sees that his parents always return. It is also useful to create a ritual to say goodbye that gives you peace of mind and makes you feel more in control of the situation. In addition, it is useful to say goodbye to the child being happy, so that he does not associate the farewell with something aversive.

2. Fears and phobias

A fear is the anxiety we feel before a specific object or situation. In the beginning they are adaptive and help us to be cautious, avoiding dangerous situations. A fear can become irrational when our reaction is excessive compared to the threat posed by the object or situation. For example, when we run or we cannot enter the house because there is a cockroach on the ground. Fear is also irrational when it affects our day to day. For example, if we are afraid of the subway and cannot move around the city. When fear is irrational and excessive it is called phobia.

In the case of children, there are evolutionary fears that are usually transitory. Even so, we must be attentive and not overlook them, since they generate a lot of discomfort in our children. The evolutionary fears are as follows:

0-2 years:

Loud noises
High places

2-6 years:

Ghosts and Monsters
Little animals

6-8 years:

Doctors: blood
Physical damage

8-11 years:

 To the death
To academic performance

11 years- Adolescence:

To rejection
To interpersonal relationships

3. Social Anxiety

Social anxiety is the discomfort and nervousness you feel in the face of fear of being negatively evaluated by others in a situation with other people. This anxiety can affect our well-being and our life, since many situations of our day to day are social.

   Adolescents are in a critical period, where the image and the skills to interact with others play a very important role in the adolescent’s self-esteem. Therefore, social anxiety is more common in this period.

Social anxiety arises because the person is worried about what he says and does, thinking that others are constantly evaluating him and that they will judge him harshly if he makes any mistake. That is, there is a constant self-evaluation and a perfectionist goal that makes you see that a supposed mistake is something unforgivable.

Psychotherapy is a great help for your child, do not hesitate to contact


Diana Faon Psychotherapy – Pscyhologist in Madrid-