The intense fear of teenagers, infants, toddlers, or babies is paedophobia or pediaphobia. The word Pediaphobia comes from payia, which means kids, and Phobos, which means aversion or fear.
The terms Pediaphobia and Pediophobia are frequently misunderstood. The former is a fear of children or infants, while the latter is a fear of dolls.
In order to avoid children, a person with Pedophobia will go out of his/her way. They think children are messy, disruptive, and a nuisance in general.
The mere thought of coming into close contact with a child will cause them to experience a full-blown panic. Needless to say, many aspects of the life of the phobic may be adversely affected by phobia.
Causes of Pedophobia
You may be worried about the root cause of your problem if you are struggling with Pedophobia. You probably ask yourself sometimes, “What caused this phobia?” “Was it an inheritance? “Why do I have obsessive ideas? ‘And’ Why am I so scared that something I know isn’t dangerous?’.
In fact, there is no single cause of anxiety disorders or phobias, and the causes differ depending on the phobia level of the person. A list of possible triggers is given here:
Often, the genes can be responsible for causing undue worry. It can also manifest in you if your parents have exhibited persistent fears and anxieties.
Your caregivers, older siblings, or parents may have warned you of the world’s ways of painting things too poorly in the process. Over-critical parents may cause this fear to manifest as different phobias as well. Unknowingly, parents and caregivers have induced emotional vulnerability and dependency.
They have not allowed you to articulate your emotions and self-assertiveness. With little dolls or tales of evil infants, a sibling might have frightened you.
Anxiety and panic attack physiology may contribute to humiliation, which can intensify the anxiety.
The person begins to worry that his/her reaction to babies or children will cause them to embarrass themselves, leading to a vicious spiral of fearful thoughts about escaping the panic situation that triggers the panic attacks again. Some underlying medical conditions may also contribute to fear.
As Pedophobia, generalized anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders may manifest.
Pedophobia may also be caused by short-term stress, such as major work changes or changes in living conditions. A personal loss or disaster may cause it. Stimulants and recreational drugs can precipitate panic attacks.
Maintenance of the fear
Certain factors may contribute to the maintenance of anxiety: negative self-talk, lack of self-assertiveness, muscle tension, stimulants and other dietary factors, lack of significance or sense of intent, and withheld feelings.
Pedophobia adults strongly believe that kids are messy and harmful. They can get noisy, leave their fingerprints behind, and generate nuisance in general. Some are afraid that children know more than they do, such as gender, drugs, crime, technology, etc.
For Ephebiphobia, this may also be a cause. Owing to their staring or glassy eyes, some pedophobes dislike dolls and infants. This may result from the overall fear of being stared at.
Symptoms of Pedophobia
Like other phobias, Pedophobia begins with negative self-talk. ‘Oh, no, there’s a child coming here. I’m about to lose control. This I can’t bear to see a child. What are other people going to say when they find out? I’m going to lose it.’
This can trigger the symptoms, both physical and emotional:
- Racing heart or palpitations
- Sweaty palms
- Hot or cold flashes
- Constricted breathing
- Butterflies in the stomach, nausea, distress
- Muscle tension
- Compulsion to escape
- Fear of death or dying
- Fear of losing control
- Feeling unreal or detached
Treatment for fear of children
Most of us feel scared of such circumstances or things or are afraid of them. But if anxiety is overwhelming and interferes with your everyday life, you can look for support.
If your fear of children does not affect your everyday life, then it might not be appropriate for you to seek clinical care. Self-help approaches can also operate in such situations.
In managing Pedophobia, self-help techniques can be highly successful. You should report your anxiety and write down your feelings or emotions.
Create a list of your phobia-related terrifying circumstances. It might be stuff like ‘children are messy’ or ‘I could be hurt by a kid’ or something else. Next, organize the things from the least scary to the scariest on your list.
The principle here is to think of the ultimate goal: facing a child or baby without getting a panic attack. The more you think about the terrifying scenario, the lower your anxiety will be each time. Ideally, this practice should be performed regularly.
You should also meditate and try techniques for deep breathing. When faced with your anxiety, practice abdominal breathing. You will stop a reaction that would cause anxiety or panic attacks after 3-4 minutes of steady, regulated breathing. Affirmations can also be effective in helping to boost self-esteem.
Slowly face your fear of children
Facing your fear is the next step in getting rid of the fear of children. It is very natural to want to avoid children and toddlers, but you will find that there is nothing to be afraid of once you face them.
Expose yourself to children or babies progressively and repetitively:
- Meet/interact with a baby/child
- Gradually increase the duration of your interaction with the baby/child
Do not rush. Go at a smooth pace. The more you practice, the better you will get. Your feelings are temporary, and if you stick with the process, your anxiety will soon fade.
Seek professional help
You would have to consider clinical assistance in extreme cases. Speak to a psychiatrist, depending on the magnitude or level of your anxiety, who can prescribe the best treatment for you.
Cognitive-behavioural therapy is a treatment for many phobias that is beneficial in treating them. It requires demanding patterns of negative thinking before the subconscious learns to resolve the fear. Another route of treatment for Pedophobia is hypnotherapy.
In order to try to look at things rationally, the therapist helps you get to the root cause of anxiety. In certain cases, to manage anxiety, drugs, or medicines can be prescribed.