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16 Feb 2004

Son's Fears
Dear Doc
Please could you help me with your advise on something.
My son is 5 years old,I would say he is pretty normal for his age,but he has this fear of animals!! When he was 1,we got him a puppy,which we thought would be a great idea for the two them to grow together. My son loved the puppy,it was really his best friend. We also got him a budgie,but he seemed to be afraid of the bird,which we accepted but we still tried to get him to like the bird. The puppy unfortunately died 2 years later, and we never replaced him. But my son is now terrified of dogs,cats,birds you name it, he's afraid of it. He actually starts to panic and he hides behind you or runs if he sees any of these animals! But show him a spider and he wants to touch it! As far as I know, he has never been "threatened" so to speak, by any of these animals, so what could the problem be? Please help, are we missing something,how can we help him? Because he's got a sister who is crazy over animals,they like day and night!
Thank You Doc.
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Expert
CyberShrink
cybershrink

01 Jan 0001

Dear Concerned Mom,
fascinating situation ! Fears of animals, sometimes based on acual expriences of having been scared by one, or on stories read or sen on TV, are not uncommon, and can be greatly helped by a psychologist, often with simple behaviour therapy, enablng him to unlearn the fears he has somehow learned ( fortunately one doesn't have to know how or why he developed such fears, to be able to abolish them ). But I haven't before come across a kid scared of dogs, cats and birds, yet keen to touch spiders. But see a child psychologist, and this could be cleared up relatively easily.
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