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Scaredy Cat!

So what are you scared of? Do you want your children to be frightened of that thing too?


In evolutionary terms, we can understand the benefits of learning from our parents which creatures to avoid or run away from, and this holds true even nowadays when it comes to stroking lions or using crocodiles as stepping stones. Most of us, however, live in a world that is mostly un-fraught with danger and where we have to be afraid, it is primarily of each other. But we are still passing on our own fears to our children.

If you are terrified of spiders or snakes, even birds or dogs, what do you do to ensure that this fear is not assimilated by your children as completely normal?

As a small child, you couldn’t keep me out of the water. Every beach holiday, I’d be in the sea until well and truly pruney. Until I learned from my mother to be frightened of it. In fairness, my mother is disabled, so had good reason to be cautious in water; I was asthmatic and so I adapted the perceived dangers to my own situation and became too scared to ever go out of my depth. Luckily, many years later, I was introduced to the joy of snorkelling which completely allayed my fears, and now I am back to my true semi-aquatic nature.

We can’t always help what we’re frightened of, whether it’s logical or completely irrational, but we should do what we can to prevent passing on those fears.

Of course the rebellious nature of children can work in our favour - if dad is scared of frogs, I’m going to LOVE them, so I can tease him relentlessly and be able to pick them up and throw them at him - for example. 

This can be encouraged by making sure that you let children know that your fear is something you don’t want, that you would like to lose and that you realise is just a piece of silliness. Unless your fear is of lions or crocodiles that is!