Phobias – The Word Fills Me With Dread

Phobias. Even the word brings up memories, that scary feeling we all get even as adults.  Last night, there I was minding my own business and watching t.v. and just lazing across the couch when suddenly without even so much as an “excuse me please can I come in” but instead an attitude as bold as brass as if they own the place, to my horror I see this huge black spider tap dancing, in hob nail boots across the floor. In fact his body looked the size of a large Tesco ready made plum pudding without the legs!  Even typing this is bringing shivers down my spine, but I feel I must share this experience with you.

There It Was As Bold As Brass

I won’t mention what I said out loud, but lets say I heard “oh don’t be silly mummy” at which point a drinking glass was quickly placed over the said creature, who by this time seemed to have great delight in jumping and trying to climb up the slippery slopes. Even hubby wouldn’t touch him, but my darling daughter once again came to the rescue. So far she has not realised the fact that she could earn herself a lot of pocket money from this task, but we will keep that quiet for now.

Why Do We Get Phobias?

So, why am I talking of my fear of spiders and what has this got to do with children you may ask? Two things really. The first question would be why have I got this fear? In fact I recall my childhood going to the library across the road from where I lived in Dublin and where there were 100s of daddy long legs.  I had great delight in holding them, feeling them tickle the palms of my hands and then watching them fly through the air. Sadly I also remember my friend being very cruel in pulling their legs off, but for me from a very early age I always respected nature, our wonderful world and even to this day, the thought of killing a snail fills with dread along with that horrible feeling of accidently standing on one and hearing the crunch of their shell.

Anyway, without rambling on too much on today, my fear of spiders happened as a child. My older brother thought it great fun to pretend a spider was running up my leg and would tickle me. I know he was just having fun, but I also know it was the start of my fear. It only took a moment, and probably he only pretended to do it once, but that’s all it took – that one time.

Phobia Start Very Young

Isn’t it amazing the huge impact a small action can have on a small child? We as adult brush things off and I cringe when I hear a parent saying to a child, “don’t be stupid” or “don’t be silly” or “oh he /she is very shy” because in fact one small “silly” comment, or “silly” action, can have a very positive or devastating effect, and remember that small child will one day be an adult. So, if a child believes all you say to them, good and bad, and they are not quite old enough yet to question what you say to them then they must be thinking mum say’s I’m shy,  Dad say’s “you’re always being naughty” so I guess I must be?  These thoughts of course carry on throughout childhood and on into adult hood and if not addressed then they stay with you your whole life.

Don’t Transfer Your Stress To Your Child

All is not lost with regards to our children. As I said at the start, my young daughter took the spider outside to a happy home, and I’m proud that she too appreciates the love of nature and is kind, but why isn’t she afraid like I am?  Well, to put it simply, when she was very young, instead of transferring my phobia to her when we saw a spider, I would keep a safe distance and made sure she did not see I was scared. I encouraged her to let the spider walk on her hands and how wonderful it was. I also taught her to respect nature, not to kill, but to admire in awe the wonder of it all.

If you have a phobia, whether it is with spiders, or snakes, or dogs, or as someone advised me recently, octopus …huh?.. think back to when it started.  Was it from your childhood? Lets not pass these phobias on to the next generation. You have a very large part to play with this adult that is still the child you are looking after. The child that believes in what you are saying to them today will take what you say to them right through to adult hood. They don’t need your phobia or your negative comments, but instead encouragement and praise ..especially when taking spiders out the front door.

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