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Childhood Fears

Maria Allen is the mother of a 6-year-old girl. Today, she is at her daughter’s school talking

to the school counsellor, Barbara Nadal, about her concerns...

Barbara: Hi, Maria! You look worried - how can I help you?

Maria: I’m really worried about my daughter Nadia... She always seems very anxious, and

she often talks to me about her fears... I feel that it’s holding her back at school. Is this

normal behaviour for a 6-year-old?

Barbara: Well, fear is an innate reaction to potential danger - it’s part of our human instinct

for survival. As children learn more about the world, the list of things they fear tends to grow.

What fears has she talked to you about? Can you give me some examples?

Maria: Well, this morning, she asked me if monsters really exist. She said she’s very afraid

of them. She’s scared of going to the doctors and dentists and even insects too...

Barbara: First of all, please avoid saying things like, ‘don’t be silly’ or ‘there’s nothing to be

afraid of.’ If these fears are not dealt with properly, they may lead to psychological disorders

in the future.

Maria: Oh, really? Well, what can I do?

Barbara: Please, don’t panic! A common reason for an increase in irrational fears is when a

child’s imagination begins to intermingle with emotions such as anger and jealousy. Does she

have a brother or sister?

Maria: No, she’s an only child.

Barbara: OK. I think I should speak to Nadia to find out more about what triggers her fears.

But in the meantime, I want you to limit the amount of time that she spends watching TV and

monitor the types of TV programmes she watches. They could be triggering her fears.

Maria: Thank you, Barbara. I will...

Cups of Coffee
Childhood Fears


Phrasal verb
Example sentence
To let down someone

To make someone disappointed when you have not fulfilled a promise.

She promised that she would be there but she let me down.

To break down

1.  To become very upset.

2.  When something stops working

1.  She broke down when she opened her results.

2.  The lift broke down.

To bring somebody/something down

1.  To make someone lose their powerful position.

2. To make something end.

1.  He brought his boss down by exposing personal emails.

2.  The rise in export prices could bring the hospitality industry down.

To bottle something up

To refuse to talk about things when someone is worried or upset.

After his father passed away, he bottled his emotions up and wouldn’t talk to anyone.

To get something across

To make someone believe or understand something

He tried to get his point across but his manager wouldn’t listen.

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