The other day I was reading through my latest issue of Parents Magazine. It’s a magazine I used to read faithfully when I first had young children, but now that I’m on my third time around, I just sort of browse through it with a “yep, I’ve done that” mentality. So maybe it was with that bias that I came across an article on fears and insecurities called “Worried Sick" and had the reaction I did. At the end of the article was a list of the most common anxiety disorders that might benefit from counseling or therapy, some of which the need for help sounded reasonable to me. But then I came to a list of phobias that stopped me in my tracks, and actually had me laughing out loud that anyone would suggest therapy for these fears. Now, granted, maybe I’m just a mess. I do have several fears (as Beth Moore put it, I live in "Chickendom"). I'm terrified of spiders, mice, the dark, deep water. Who knows? Maybe I need counseling or therapy myself, although I think it’s perfectly reasonable to be afraid of those things. Spiders bite, mice scitter, only God knows what is lurking in the dark, and deep water is, well . . . deep. These things send me running for cover. So keep that in mind when I share with you the list of phobias (irrational fears) that might signal you or your child needs therapy.
First of all: Bees.
Now, call me crazy, but what’s irrational about being afraid of an insect that buzzes crazily about; you’re never sure where it’s going to land; and if it’s having a bad day, just might decide to inflict you with a searing sting? I avoid them if at all possible. Don’t you? Even the people who work with them dress in gear that looks like they’re avoiding the plague or getting ready to land on the moon.
Another on the list: Dogs.
Dogs have teeth, and some of them use them. After all, don’t we teach our children never to approach a strange dog? And some dogs, like mine, are ill-mannered, overly-friendly, humongous beasts that can either knock you out with their tails, lick your face off, or shove you to the ground with one exuberant hello. That’s enough to send any small child, or timid adult, into near-panic. Hardly irrational.
And finally: Clowns.
Um, Stephen King’s It, anyone? What child hasn’t gone through a phase when wigged, costumed, face-painted people that are loud (or eerily silent) scares them? At some point in their lives, children are usually afraid of Santa Claus too. Which is more irrational . . . being scared of the jolly guy who’s supposed to bring you presents, or the one who looks and acts like something exploded all over him?
These “phobias” seem perfectly reasonable to me, and hardly worthy of hours of some sort of behavioral therapy.
However, if you notice your child is afraid of marshmallows, butterflies or rainbows, you might want to reconsider.
--brought to you by apiphobic, arachniphobic, atychiphobic, musophobic, mysophobic, nyctobphobic mom
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