Monday, October 4, 2010

Childhood Phobias and Fears

There was a period of time from about 18 months old to 4 years old that my daughter had some pretty extreme fears.

And then there were things I thought she should be afraid of, but she wasn't at all.

We'd go to a birthday party and she'd cry and shriek in terror of the balloons tied to the chairs, but let them bring out a snake for all the kids to pet and she'd be first in line to pet it!

Or we'd go to Sea World and she would be deathly afraid of the person in the Shamu costume at the park entrance, but eagerly ride every roller coaster she was tall enough for and point to the really big ones and say, "I can't wait until I'm big enough to ride that!"

And those contrasts just confirmed my suspicions that she was nuts!

I Googled "childhood fears" more times than I can count and sometimes really worried that maybe I needed to take her to a child psychiatrist.

Here's a list of the top 10 things she was afraid of:

1. Characters - people dressed in costumes with their entire head covered, like the Chick-Fil-A cow (princesses didn't bother her); you have no idea how glad we were that she outgrew this fear just a couple months before we went to Disney last November!

2. Loud noises

3. Power tools - see #2 for explanation

4. Construction Vehicles - see #2 for explanation

5. Bees & Wasps

6. Moths - because she thinks they are bees

7. Common House Flies - because she thinks they are bees

8. Balloons - something about the way they'd fly towards you freaked her out

9. Things floating in the water near her while she was swimming - she broke down one day at swim lessons and it took her poor teacher a while to figure out the pool noodle floating nearby was causing his usually enthusiastic swimmer to hang on the side and cry!

10. The Wind - Oh yes she was afraid of the wind for a while! As a 2 year old she'd literally cry and cling to me when we were outside on a windy day saying, "I'm scared of the wind!" Good thing we didn't live in Oklahoma!

But, my message to anyone who may be facing something similar with their child is that the fears passed! We spent a lot of time explaining to her why she didn't need to be afraid, but I think what finally helped was just age. The crazy just had to run its course. Sorry to not be able to share a magic solution; if you're in this situation with your child, I know you want one. Just hang on and it will pass!

She's 5 now, but really by 4 most of the crazy fears were over.

Okay, she still freaks out a little with the flying bee-like creatures, but you have no idea the progress the photo below illustrates!

She's high-fiving the Chick-Fil-A cow!
That cow used to elicit a lot of crying, the refusal to walk near it, and extreme clinging to Mommy!

And I have to say, you have no idea how many times you encounter characters in everyday life until you have a child with a character phobia! I'm so grateful we're through with that drama!

This post is part of the Moms' 30-Minute Blog Challenge.

Top Ten {Tuesday}


  1. So glad that those fears have passed. Wind? Now that would be hard one to protect your child from. I am sure you are great mom and talked through all those things, which is why she no longer has those fears. Good job!!

  2. I cannot wait for my daughter's fear of any male she does not know - and even some she does - to pass. I think it is tied to the fact that most of the folks at the surgery she had this past year were male, as that's when it started, but I sure do spend a lot of time telling her folks are nice and explaining to those nice folks why she makes such awful faces at them and shrinks away...

  3. How that my son is three and has all of the exact same fears through #8. He will come in from playing outside if a loud vehicle or weedeater is being used.
    Any flying insect sends him into a panic.
    We have to avoid the mascots at football games.
    I thought he was unusual in these fears, but I guess not really. I'll try to remember this during the shrieking!!


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