Mother and crying afraid childIt is a proven scientific fact that phobias and anxieties get passed down to children from their parents. And I certainly can back that up as 8 out of every 10 people who come onto the ‘Spider Courage Experience,’ my powerful spider phobia workshop, say they got their fear from their parents. Sometimes it’s difficult to face your fears for just yourself but maybe if you know how much it might affect your children’s lives it might be the motivation you need.

“All early learning is based upon the process of association and identification,” said John McGrail, a Los Angeles-based clinical hypnotherapist. “Thus, as kids are developing, especially through age 8, they are like behavioral sponges, associating and identifying all they experience, programming their subconscious, (their) internal computers, where their learned fears will reside.”

Dr. Francine Rosenberg, a clinical psychologist and anxiety specialist at Morristown Memorial Hospital in New Jersey says “This learning occurs through parents’ verbal and nonverbal cues to their children.”

Rosenberg goes on to gives an example about how a child may start to become apprehensive about dogs if their parents start telling them to avoid a park because dogs will be present, or if a parent behaves anxiously around dogs. From running the Spider Courage Experience, I have heard countless stories of how people saw their mums or even dads reacting in a terrified way of spiders and thus they themselves had been afraid of spiders as long as they could remember. Phobias are usually learned as children in most cases.

We are only born with two innate phobias, the fear of loud noises and the fear of falling. Everything else is learned and usually from parents.   This highlights a parent’s crucial role in the early years to establish confidence and courage within young children as the effects of an unnecessary fear can  limit children for the rest of their lives.

The internet if full of documented studies about how phobias are learned from parents and the long term effects it has on children. In all the articles I read,there was a common theme of health professionals  emphasizing for parents to face their fear, take control, seek therapy and get help. Children can grow up being unnecessarily afraid of animals and the world around them and limit their life experiences because of it. If a parent has suffered and limited their own life because of a spider or other animal phobia, why would they want their child to go through the same thing? Becoming a parent is a big responsibility and actually, being the best role model one can possibly be is one of the most important aspects of parenting.

This issue is really taken as seriously as it should as people without phobias just don’t understand how devastating the effects of the phobia can be for someone suffering from.  Especially when the phobia is of something like a spider, a trigger that can happen any time any place. Often people with phobias are just made fun of when they desperately need support. These phobias are affecting people’s lives and their children’s lives in very limiting ways and can create generations of life-limiting fear. 

Many parents have come with their children onto my workshop, feeling very badly that they had given their child the fear. I have hear so many sad stories of how this fear is affecting their lives. both parent and child are too afraid to go into the garden because of spiders so play time is limited to indoors. Holiday destinations are limited and based around indoor activities. Once a mother and child felt ‘trapped’ within a room of the house until the father could get home to remove a spider within. The child missed a birthday party with one of her best friends. People simply do not realise that this is an everyday reality for many struggling with a spider phobia.

There is not enough up-to-date and modern support for phobias and that’s why I run Creature Courage. I wanted to create the best possible animal phobia workshops in the UK that  deliver all the most modern and effective methods into one workshop to break the chain of fear for good. Fortunately, phobias are for most people, very easy to break even in just one session if the right treatment is provided.  So why let the chain of fear be passed on? 

The best part about conquering one fear is that you feel inspired to conquer other fears. Instead of teaching your child a legacy of fear, you can pass on a legacy of courage. Don’t waste anymore of your precious life afraid!

Check out the article I mentioned here:

Passing Your Fears To Your Children