Instilling Fear

My attitude towards fear? I force myself to face it.  If I’m fearful, I throw myself in the path of that fear so I’m compelled to conquer it.  My attitude towards fear is definitely the “get back on the horse” approach.  My faith in God and love of a challenge helps motivate me.

I love watching my children embrace new situations.

Here’s an example: Our best Family Zoo experience yet was at the Darling Downs Zoo situated 30 minutes from Toowoomba. I absolutely recommend it!  The relaxed atmosphere and small crowd numbers meant a stress-free exploration day for the children.  As a bonus, the children had the opportunity to hold a snake — for free (no hidden costs here) and I was proud how enthusiastic they were.  This got me thinking about how sometimes, parents can impart their own fear onto their children, in essence hindering the opportunity a child has to explore the world around them.

I’ve probably done it myself in some areas; however, I try and keep my own fears apart from my children so I don’t influence them in a negative way.  I don’t like snakes but I was willing to hold one.  It did give me shivers though.

Dealing with fear is part of life, and my children do have fears.  I just hope they’re natural fears, depending on the child’s nature, which could include snakes, and not fears I have instilled in them.

What do you think?  Do you think fear can be instilled?

Some cute shots from the zoo. If you live in South East Queensland, make an effort to visit.


External Links

Bible Verses About Courage

Childhood Fears

Childhood Fears: Supporting Your Child to Outgrow His Fear

Darling Downs Zoo

SuperParents: Women of the 21st Century

Be A Fun Mum Links

The Anxious Child: Red Brain, Green Brain

Three Gates: Words of Wisdom

Bloom Where You Are Planted

You Might Also Like...


  • Reply
    July 22, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    I agree to a degree, but I also think that children are born with their own natures. My Mr6 is an inherently cautious child. He would run a mile from a snake. Mr3 on the other hand would be right in there, checking to see if it had ears. Both brought up exactly the same.

    • Reply
      Kelly Be A Fun Mum
      July 22, 2010 at 9:28 pm

      I absolutely agree!

      “Dealing with fear is part of life and my children do have fears. I just hope they are natural fears, depending on the child’s nature, and not fears I have instilled in them.”

      In my brood, I have a few very cautious ones, and that’s in their nature… and beautiful. However, I’m talking about specific fears that parents may impart…

      Appreciate your view.

  • Reply
    Tweets that mention Instilling Fear : Be A Fun Mum -- Topsy.com
    July 22, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Allison Tait and Kelly Long Burstow, Be A Fun Mum. Be A Fun Mum said: Instilling Fear http://beafunmum.com/2010/07/instilling-fear/ […]

  • Reply
    July 22, 2010 at 9:57 pm

    I definitely think fear can be instilled. We are our childrens biggest teachers – they see us react to a situation, and think that’s how it’s supposed to be. A friend of mine has a fear of crows (understandably), and her son is petrified of them as a result. But I agree too, that it is also inbuilt in their personality. (BTW – you are a braver woman than I am holding that snake!!!)

  • Reply
    July 22, 2010 at 10:58 pm

    Hi Kelly, i do think fear can be instilled. I had a friend who was terrified of dogs as a result of a childhood experience. She passed this fear on to her 2 children and if they were out and a dog was nearby or approached she would ‘freak out’ and so would her kids, reacting to her reaction, even if the dog was obviously not a threat (but she wasn’t able to get past her fear to realise that). That was when her kids were about 3 and 5, it would be interesting to know how they react now. Carolyne

  • Reply
    The Original SuperParent
    July 22, 2010 at 11:59 pm

    I think fears can definitely be instilled. In fact, I think that you can desensitize a person towards certain fears too. Good post. Thanks for the mention. Colin

  • Reply
    July 23, 2010 at 7:39 am

    Oh yes, I think fear can be handed down to your kids… and grandkids. I’m pretty fearless myself, always have been, so I don’t understand why my grown sons both scream like little girls and have to yell for a wife (or me, their mom) to come kill a wasp when one buzzes within a mile of them. Hmmm. I have no idea where that came from! LOL!

    I would think of you as a pretty cool mom, joining in on the family snake fun. Yeah. =)

    Visiting from SITS! Have an awesome and happy day!

  • Reply
    July 23, 2010 at 8:34 am

    of course we impart our fears to our children sometimes without us knowing. I try so hard to keep my fears from my children because I want them to feel free to be curious and explore things. I however have not been really successful in keeping my irrational fear of lizards from them but happy to report that not one of my children are afraid of lizards so I guess I haven’t done too bad a job LOL

  • Reply
    July 23, 2010 at 7:39 pm

    I absolutely think parents can pass their fears on, usually completely unintentionally. I applaud you Kelly for stepping up as a mother to set the example for your kids. I think it’s really important that we teach our kids how to respond to fear.

    • Reply
      Kelly Be A Fun Mum
      July 24, 2010 at 12:00 pm

      Thank Cath. I like how you’ve brought out teaching kids how to respond to fear.

  • Reply
    July 23, 2010 at 9:37 pm

    This is one of my biggest “issues” as a parent! I was only talking about this very thing to my huband the other day.

    I am absolutely terrified of swooping magpies (so much so that I don’t do outdoor exercise from late Aug to Nov so to avoid being swooped). This year, however I will have a one year old who will want to play and do all of the outdoor things we normally do and I certainly don’t want to instill in her the fear that I have. Obviously I want to keep her safe but I don’t ever want her to be frightened. Cautious, yes. Scared, no. So it looks like I’m just going to have to be brave this Spring and face my fears.

    While we’re on the subject of fears and being afraid of things…. My husband and I have talked about the topic of labelling our daughter as being “afraid” of things. My MIL once said that our daughter was “scared of the dark” because she liked having a night light on at one stage. When we got home I talked to Travis about this and said that I didn’t like the idea of other people’s labels becoming Gabby’s self talk. It was a great conversation to have.

    Ok, that’s my rant over and done with. 🙂

    • Reply
      Kelly Be A Fun Mum
      July 24, 2010 at 12:04 pm

      This is really interesting Mon. I love how you’ve been talking about it. You know, you’re already half way there! I think on of points coming out of this comment tread is that not expecting our children NOT to have any fears, but showing and helping them how to know how to deal with it.

  • Reply
    July 24, 2010 at 11:33 am

    Aren’t we all afraid of something?? My bent, your bent, my kids bent, to areas that scare us. When something arises, like my daughters scary dream that she just will not let go sigh…lol, I try to make it a ‘learning moment’. We talk about what we can learn from the situation and what we can focus on instead.
    This means I have to do this myself too! The most powerful weapon I have when my daughters witness my fear is to ‘example’ my choice in how I respond and what I will focus on too, not just in my own mind but out loud, verbally.
    Sounds easy, but it’s hard, because it’s easy to forget that little eyes and ears are always taking my life in!

    • Reply
      Kelly Be A Fun Mum
      July 24, 2010 at 12:07 pm

      Isn’t it just amazing! When you have kids you HAVE to put your money where your mouth is! This has been a huge learning curve for me: learning to be an example… and if necessary use words.

      I really love the point you’ve raised here Liz. The point of being a good example of how to deal with fear, not avoiding fear altogether.

  • Reply
    A Year of Blogging : Be A Fun Mum
    August 23, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    […] Instilling Fear: I’ve turned a Zoo trip into a post about passing personal phobias on to children. […]

  • Reply
    Social Stories
    January 18, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    […] Instilling Fear […]

Leave a Reply