Do children outgrow animal phobias?

Yes, very often a child outgrows animal phobias. If a phobia develops early in childhood, there is a good chance that the child will outgrow it. If the phobia continues into adulthood, the adult will likely need treatment to overcome it. A parent can assist a child in overcoming an animal phobia in several ways:

First, if a parent has an animal phobia, obtaining treatment for the phobia will help prevent a child from learning the same phobic reactions to the feared animal from the parent.

Second, a parent should recognize that a child's fear is genuine and possibly very terrifying and should thus show compassion and respect for the child's feelings of fear.

Third, a parent can assist a child with overcoming the fear of animals by exposing the child to the feared animal in a secure, safe environment.

Finally, a parent can teach a child relaxation techniques to control the physiological affect of the fear.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.