Concern or worrying is a part of life and can lead to physical responses caused by an increase of adrenalin (epinephrine) and other hormones that produce a fight-or-flight response to escape from danger. Our body’s natural alert signal helps us become physically, emotionally, and cognitively prepared for an actual threat or potential threat. Normal developmental fears are distinguished from other emotions at around 6 to 12 months of age.

During early childhood, toddlers and preschoolers generally show fear of various individuals and actions. Young children can become distressed when a stranger or unfamiliar individual is near. This response can begin around 9 or 10 months of age and is commonly referred to as “stranger danger.” This may continue later in childhood, but it decreases as children ...

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