Jacques Leveau

Pour que votre enfant n’ait plus peur Publication date : February 20, 2005

Parents and teachers are often at a loss when faced with children's fears. In early childhood these fears may be of disguises, the dark, noises, and strangers; in later childhood they may be of separation, different means of transport, and animals; in adolescence there are fears of refusing, of speaking in a group, as well as fears arising from social or academic situations.
How can parents and teachers distinguish natural anxiety and normal fears from phobias (excessive fears resulting in the total avoidance of certain situations? When should there be cause for alarm? What causes such fears? Who is to blame? When should professional advice be sought?
The author replies to these questions, which are frequently asked by parents who feel guilty and surprised. He explains the origins of these excessive fears and suggests the best and most efficient ways of dealing with them. Therapy is three-tiered: changes in the child's personal life, recognition of the factors that triggered the fear, recognition of what keeps the fear alive.
The behavioural and cognitive approach has been shown to be the most effective in overcoming childhood and adolescent fears. The clinical examples cited here will enable parents to stop feeling guilty and alone. The author has provided several questionnaires to help them identify their child's problem. One chapter is concerned with fear of school, a phobia that can have devastating effects and requires swift and effective solutions.
Jacques Leveau is a psychiatrist in the child and adolescent psychiatry ward at the Hôpital de la Salpêtrière, in Paris. He also has a practice in Fontainebleau.