Be it flying, spiders or something more obscure, like beetroot, parents often unintentionally pass their phobias onto their children.
It’s safe to say we’re all afraid of something, it’s part of being human. Some conquer their fears, others find ways to live with them, or maybe you avoid them altogether.
For parents, the biggest fear is passing their phobias onto their littleuns. A fear of heights could mean they will miss out on all sorts of amazing adventures in the future, being terrified of clowns could rob children of countless, fun birthday parties. The list is endless. Try as you might not to seal their fate, kids pick up on tiny tics, quirks, and subtle cues. So, however discreet you think you’re being, yelling for your partner when you spot a S.P.I.D.E.R, isn’t helping.
After speaking to 4,000 parents Childcare.co.uk, discovered 89 per cent worried about their children developing the same fears as them, with nearly half (46%) revealing their child already has the same phobia.
Turns out, the top 10 phobias parents pass onto your little cherubs are:
- Arachnophobia (A fear of spiders)
- Social Phobia (A fear of social situations)
- Acrophobia (A fear of heights)
- Cynophobia (A fear of Dogs)
- Aerophobia (A fear of flying)
- Dentophobia (A fear of Dentists)
- Enochlophobia (A fear of large crowds)
- Ophidiophobia (A fear of snakes)
- Atychiphobia (A fear of failure)
- Aquaphobia (A fear of water)
When asked how they think their child developed these fears, the majority (84%) of parents said it was picked up from them or other family members, 20 per cent claimed it was due to what they see in the media – TV and the internet – and one 11 per cent explained it was due to an incident.
Although phobias aren’t genetic, research shows they can be learned from a parent, guardian or sibling in childhood. Of those surveyed, 34 per cent were worried their child’s current phobias would negatively impact their future. Fear not though, there are ways to relieve and cure many phobias. The NHS suggests treatments such as counselling, psychotherapy and cognitive behavioural therapy can all help.
Richard Conway, founder of Childcare.co.uk, said, ‘As humans we are all scared of something, and as a parent whether you try to hide it or not, your children will likely be aware of your fears. When raising a child you are essentially teaching them the ropes of life, but what do we unintentionally pass on to them? We wanted to find out just that, and discover how common it is for parents to share the same phobia with their children, essentially passing it on.
‘It was no surprise to see just how many parents worry about the impact their own anxieties have on their kids, however it was shocking to discover just how many parents believe they have passed on a fear. Whether it’s being a little scared or having a fully developed phobia, the fears most commonly passed on are ones most of us can relate to in some form. We hope the findings show parents that they are not alone in their worries.’