Anxieties, Fears

John's Most Recent Articles

Avoid Telling Young Kids About Existential Threats

Posted on 1/18/2022

Q: My 3-year-old is fearful of trying anything new, including things that other kids his age love to do such as swinging on a swing, sliding down a slide, and splashing in a pool. I feel like I...

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Choose 1 of 2 Paths With Kids’ Anxieties

Posted on 11/9/2021

Q: I recently changed my almost 4-year-old son’s preschool. My son, once fearless, has become reluctant to simply get out of the car in the morning and go into the school. There’s always a...

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Talking About Children’s Fears Can Intensify Them

Posted on 8/17/2021

A stalwart friend recently called my attention to an online article titled “Two Things to Say to a Child Returning to In-Person School (& Two You Should Avoid).” I am choosing to provide...

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Today’s Kids Suffer a Lack of Common Sense in Their Lives

Posted on 12/22/2020

A journalist asks, “What is the biggest challenge facing today’s children?” “The real world,” I said. For the last fifty years or so, good parenting has been defined...

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Helping a Child Worried About Death

Posted on 8/18/2020

Q: We have a five-year-old who obsesses about dying. This has been going on for six months, ever since a child in the neighborhood died of a congenital genetic condition. Our son knew the boy and...

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Keep Calm and Carry On

Posted on 3/24/2020

Vital to a child’s sense of well-being are parents who act competent to provide adequate provision and protection under any and all circumstances. I often refer to that obligation...

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Replace Psychological With Old Fashioned Parenting

Posted on 9/24/2019

As my regular readers know, I am a certified heretic in my field: child and family psychology. To the point, I am convinced that psychological parenting theory, which began to inform American...

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Try the 'No-Talking Cure' for Childhood Fears

Posted on 2/7/2018

A true story: When my daughter, Amy, was a pre-teen, she became anxious about going to sleep because of fears of dying in the middle of the night. When I tucked her in (I was her preferred...

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Parents Should Keep Kid With Irrational Fears Grounded

Posted on 9/27/2017

Q: Over the past year, our 4-year-old has developed several fears that have become quite disruptive. It started with a fear of dogs, which is inconvenient given that there are lots of dogs in our...

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Use Godfather Principle to Nip Fear of Doctor in the Bud

Posted on 9/20/2016

Q: Over the past year or so, our 5-year-old has developed an extreme fear of going to the doctor or dentist. This came on suddenly, without a precipitating incident. The crying begins when we...

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Recent Questions

Hearing Voices

Posted 1 month ago

"John" is almost 6 and is hearing voices in his head. The voices keep him awake at night and tell him "bad things". He does not try to get up and there are no behavior issues. He simply can't...

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Out of Sorts with Sports--the Angst of a 7-year Old

Posted on 4/14/2022

Our seven year old son wanted to sign up for soccer this season. He played soccer once a few years ago but hasn’t played organized sports in a few years. So far, he has yet to go to a practice or...

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Anxiety taking the wheel

Posted on 1/19/2022

My 12-year-old niece is experiencing out-of-control anxiety. She says thoughts keep repeating themselves over and over in her head. She's even experienced anxiety about having anxiety. My sister...

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Competitive Swimming Setback for 9-Year-Old

Posted on 10/19/2021

My nine year old son appears to be having panic attacks in the water at swim meets. He has been swimming since he was 2 and has been competitive since he was 6. He was the only 7 year old to...

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2 year old Hair Cut Anxiety

Posted on 5/21/2021

Hello, my son is 2 years and 3 months old. He has not had a full evaluation for autism yet but is showing signs and is nonverbal. He is in desperate need of a haircut but anytime we have taken him...

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Toddler Needs Help Working Through Separation Anxiety

Posted on 3/29/2021

My 15 month old daughter will cry and cry if my husband and I wont pick her up or give her all of our attention. This isn't feasible since we have things we have to get done. How can we help her...

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Reducing Stress in an 8yr old Boy

Posted on 3/17/2021

Hello again! My 8 year old son was diagnosed with tics at age 3. A major trigger to these tics is anxiety. Having anxiety myself it is no surprise I’ve raised an anxious kid. That coupled with the...

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Afraid of the potty

Posted on 2/24/2021

I am in the process of potty training a 3 year old. She is irrationally afraid of the potty, and seems to believe she will fall in even though she is using a small toddler-sized potty that she...

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Logic and a 4 Year Old Don't Go Together!

Posted on 2/12/2021

My 4 year old daughter is scared and I'm wondering if it's something we should be concerned about. She goes to bed fine (sleeps with the covers over her head because of her fears) but she ends up...

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Fearful 11 Year Old Wearing Family Out

Posted on 2/7/2021

Our middle child who is 11, has had fears about bedtime and going to and staying asleep, on and off for the past few years. We’ve never let her sleep in our bed but have let her sleep on the floor...

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