While it is important to be aware of potential and real threats, it is just as important to react appropriately to them. For most of us, our initial startle response subsides as soon as we realize that there is no actual threat or danger.
However, this is not always the case. There are many people for whom fear becomes maladaptive, as they struggle with anxiety, phobias and panic attacks. Children are also at risk of overactive fear, as they are not always able to rationalize fears that are unrealistic or unfounded.
What is fear like for children? Children experiencing fears and phobias feel very real threats and parents often have difficulty consoling or reassuring their child that there is actually nothing to fear. Childhood anxiety can have a negative impact on their healthy development and may predispose them to problems in later life.
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