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Q. My child developed phobia for terrorist. How to eliminate this?

Answered by
Dr. Bharat Udey
and medically reviewed by Dr. Sneha Kannan
This is a premium question & answer published on Mar 10, 2016 and last reviewed on: Jun 17, 2019

Hi doctor,

Recently my child seems to have developed phobia for terrorist. She is just 4 years old. I did not know how really she even came to know about the word terrorist. Now, she remains afraid for most of the day and night. She thinks that they are going to come to her. She does not like to go outside the flat and visit public area. I think it may be that one of the movies seen recently has left a deep impact on her. We tried our level best to convince her that movies show false things, but somehow the word terrorist has got deep inside her. She keeps talking about them throughout the day. We do not really know how to get this out of her. These things have started very recently and becoming more intense. Kindly help.

Dr. Bharat Udey

Geriatrics Psychiatry Sexology Sleep Medicine


Welcome to

Child's mind is very delicate and easily moldable. Subtle things can cause drastic and unexpected effect on them, which we cannot even predict at times.

In your case, it is quite easily observable to you. It is good that you could recognize this change in her behavior so early and decided to take an opinion for the same without wasting further time.

Violence and rage have very severe effect on a child's mind. This is what happened with your daughter. The violence depicted in the movie and the reactions caused by that violence in the movie characters have made a deep impact on her mind. The fear caused by that violence had got imprinted on her mind.

This can be the beginning of development of an underlying anxiety illness in her. So, it is very important for you as a parent to help her overcome this. You have to gradually make her aware that though the terrorist are the ones who spread violence and chaos, but on the other hand there are good people also who stop them.

To begin with storytelling is a good way to inculcate things. Then play therapy can help. You can get her into play activities where you can strengthen her faith that there is no need to be afraid of bad guys and there are always good guys to help with. Gradually start taking her out and expose her to the people in neighborhood. Tell her about different kind of people living nearby. Familiarize her with the surroundings.

Besides this, you should avoid watching content depicting violence and rage in front of your daughter. Child's age is a tender part of their life, they learn very quickly. So, use this as a therapy to manage her fear.

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