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Parenting--Toddlers/Infants/Pre-Schoolers/my 14-month old daughter scared of everything


My 14-month old daughter freaks out if strangers (even family members she doesn't know) hold her, freaks out if she sees someone bald, someone in a burka or someone wearing sunglasses. Is this normal?

Hello Rose,
It's not necessarily abnormal. I would say that it falls within normal expectations for a young child.
 Many young children are, by temperament and personality, more timid and less adventuresome. They may like the usual and the familiar. Anything that is out of the ordinary tends to be upsetting and distressing.
But this doesn't mean that you should shield her from everything that is different or unfamiliar. It does mean that when she encounters the new or novel situation or when she gets distressed with new situations that you provide soothing and comfort to her so that she recognizes that you are there to protect her and that she can learn to be less fearful of the new and the unfamiliar. If you are calm and confident, then she can see from your reactions that she does not need to be afraid.
Any other questions?
James Windell  


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James Windell


I can answer questions related to normal child development, disturbed behavior and how to provide appropriate guidance and discipline.


I've been a clinical psychologist in a juvenile court, worked in school settings, been a child psychotherapist in a private psychiatric clinic and consulted with schools, courts, hospitals and daycare centers.

American Psychological Association
Michigan Psychological Association

I have been a columnist with the Oakland Press (Oakland County, MI) for 21 years writing a weekly column called Coping With Kids, which is also published weekly in the Staten Island Advance. I have been a mental health columnist with the Detroit Free Press and a columnist for Working Mother Magazine. In addition, I have published articles in professional journals. I have published 16 books, among them are "8 Weeks to a Well-Behaved Child" (IDG Books), "Discipline: A Sourcebook of 50 Failsafe Techniques for Parents" (IDG Books); "Children Who Say No When You Want Them to Say Yes" (IDG Books), "What You Need to Know About Ritalin" (Bantam Books) "6 Steps to an Emotionally Intelligent Teenagers" (John Wiley & Sons), "The Fatherstyle Advantage" (Stewart, Tabori & Chang) and "Defusing High Conflict Divorce" (Impact Publishers). My latest parenting book (2012) is "The Everything Child Psychology and Development Book." Articles about my work with parents has appeared in the New York Times, the Chicago Sun Times, the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press. My website at includes more information about me, my books and includes many columns I've written.

B.A. in Psychology from Wayne State University
M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Oakland University

Awards and Honors
Best Educational Program by Juvenile and Family Court Judges Association (National award for the development of a parent training program for parents of delinquent teenagers. Beth Clark Service Award from the Michigan Psychological Association.

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