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Does Fear Make Us Better Parents?

Do you ever wonder what fears you might be passing along to your children? I get really creeped out in the dark and my husband is really nervous around big dogs. We’ve both tried to get over these fears but to no avail, so we both agreed that when we had kids we would do our best to hide these quirks so as not to pass them along to our kids.

Phobias Can Be Difficult to Hide

However, when you have a bona fide paranoia about something that makes you nervous or gives you the creeps, it really isn’t all that easy to hide this fact. It is especially difficult to hide it from the little ones who always happen to be there when the lights go out, or a huge dog starts barking from across the street,  or a tornado watch occurs.

Wait, did I forget to tell you that tornadoes really freak me out? They do; I generally do not like to see  natural disasters heading my way.

At any rate, the idea of hiding our fears did not turn out to be a feasible idea. Babies and young kids can sense when their parents are suddenly anxious, even if the parents don’t say a word. Besides, I felt a bit like a fraud. The first time my daughter asked me to leave the light on at night because she was nervous about sleeping in total darkness I tried to put on my biggest Mommy smile and assure her that the dark is nothing to be afraid of. I was acutely aware that I was acting at that moment and didn’t like the feeling at all.

Can Fear be a Good Thing?

It turns out that sometimes having fears like these can actually make us better parents. When my kids tell me they don’t want the lights off at night, I can understand why they are nervous and can offer a solution like a night light instead of dismissing the fear as silly. I’ll also tell you that my kids are incredibly well-versed in how to deal with dogs because my husband has made sure of it in an attempt to make sure they do not aggravate dogs.

I don’t know if I’ve passed on any my fears to my kids, and who knows what genetic monstrosity of mine they’ll someday call their own (Horrible eyesight? Teeth that need braces? Snoring?) but I keep reminding myself that dwelling on my inadequacies won’t make me a better parent and neither will pretending to be someone I’m not. This is me, afraid of the dark and walking into walls if I don’t wear my contact lenses, but my kids think I’m pretty cool and that’s what really matters.


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