Are you scared of spiders Mummy?

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Not scared in the slightest!!!!!!

One of the constant dilemmas I face as a single-mum to my 2 year-old bear-cub is how much negative emotion to try to ‘hide’ from him.  The other day we found a huge spider in his bedroom and I tried to calmly explain that we needed to take him outside so he could ‘be with his spider friends’.  When bear cub questioned why I was putting the spider in a glass and not picking it up with my hands I answered, through gritted teeth and with shaky hands, that I simply didn’t want to accidently squash him!  From the look on his face I don’t think bear cub was convinced for a minute.  I however, was actually quite proud of myself for managing to get that close to a big spider even if there was a glass between it and me.  Dealing with spiders is yet another new territory for me since becoming a single parent.

But there are so many questions here regarding fears.  We, as mums, instinctively want to do what is best and right for our little ones.  We cannot fight the overwhelming force which leads us to want to protect them from all harm at all costs.  On the other hand, most of us recognize how in the long term it does not benefit our children to grow up completely ignorant to some of the harsh realities in life that they inevitably will face.  The fact is, bad things do happen in life and it is not always a world of Cbeebies-happiness.  But how much should we educate them in the darker side of life and at what age? I constantly change my mind on this one.  As a child, I was exposed to the troubles of the adult world too much and too soon, the result being my sister and I were in somewhat of a role-reversal situation with our mum particularly in our teens and we were forced to grow up too quickly.  The positives are my sister and I are very strong, independent and calm in a crisis but we do some times wish we’d had a few more years of the care-free existence of a child who only has to worry about what they might not get for Christmas.  This experience has made me adamant that my son will not feel burdened with the responsibility of ‘making sure mum is ok’ or feeling guilty at having his own life and certainly that he will not feel that he has to be ‘the man of the house’.  Having said that, despite my best efforts, if I’m having a ‘difficult’ day which I feel I am handling internally I’ll often catch my little boy making an extra effort to make me laugh or smile.  It saddens me that he can so easily pick up my mood and want to or even feel responsible for turning it around.

My reality is that my little boy does not have his daddy living with him and although we’re trying to make that situation as smooth for him as possible he is beginning to become aware that this is not the case for many of his friends.  I’d be doing him a disservice as a parent to not sensitively communicate with him about this in terms he can understand.   I think we’d all agree it is not healthy to wrap our children in cotton-wool but I also believe it is good practice to let them know it is ‘ok’ for mummy to not be happy all the time and that sometimes people get sad.  More often than not, if it’s explained in an appropriate way they can handle it and move on.  After all, as I have discovered, kids are not stupid and know when you’re faking something anyway!

What’s your views/experience on this topic?

L

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17 thoughts on “Are you scared of spiders Mummy?

    nannysnotebook said:
    October 8, 2011 at 9:15 am

    Completely better to tell them in their terms, otherwise they will feel secluded like there’s something everyone else knows and he doesn’t and may also put a strain on trust. You don’t have to go into full detail, but just a little insight and then if he has anymore questions they are his own for his understanding and not you telling thins which will make him grow up quickly. Children are definitely more clever than you think! *big hugs* x

    Tvraisedmykids said:
    October 8, 2011 at 11:05 am

    I try not to show I’m afraid of spiders, as I have visions of my toddler then picking them up and chasing me with them! She thinks they’re brilliant!!

    It is hard trying to pitch things at the right level though. She was painting a picture of a spider the other day, and then starting painting a butterfly. “That’s pretty,” I said. “Yes,” she replied, “The spider is going to eat it.” Have we been watching too many nature programmes?! Long may her cool matter-of-fact attitude continue, but I’m not sure it’s based in proper understanding yet…

    Also, I think it is good that our kids realise it’s okay for people not to feel happy all the time, as that then makes them feel it’s okay for them to have off days too. It sound like your little
    boy is a lovely empathetic soul. 🙂

    morethanamummy responded:
    October 8, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    @Tvraisedmykids ha ha LOVE the spider-eating-butterfly story. We try to make things so pretty for them somtimes don’t we and then they just floor us with some brutal comment Lol!

    @nannysnotebook I agree it’s all about communicating appropriately rather than not communicating at all!

    Becky said:
    October 9, 2011 at 9:10 am

    I’m lucky that spiders don’t freak me out but I couldn’t pick them up in my hand! I just tell kids they are too tickly 😉

    As for other things my kids are a bit older and I find that I just try and answer questions as they come up in terms they understand. Conversation this week ended up about the boys that killed James Bulger as I’m trying to let them know that not everyone is their friend and that not all people know right from wrong.

      morethanamummy responded:
      October 9, 2011 at 9:15 am

      Wow that must have been a tough conversation to navigate. How old are you little ‘uns?

    Lianne said:
    October 10, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    Hi 🙂 I have been living on my own with my two children now for a year and as much as I haven’t got a problem with spiders, i do feel incredibly mortal these days. Sometimes i can go to bed with the light off, but most days its either the light or the TV that stays on 😉

    I think that it is appropriate to teach your children of the dangers in the world, which is the darker side I guess. I especially drum stranger danger and road safety into my sons head!

    As far as my emotions are concerned I have tried to teach them about their emotions and in tern they understand mine! It was a very basic, simple but very effective thing that I did… but revolutionized my life! My oldest was 23months when dad left (the youngest was 5 weeks) The poor boy had a brand new sister, his mum was crying all of the time and he now lived with his grandparents and not his dad! He used to wake up screaming the house down at 3am every night, which was stressful. His behaviour during the day was challenging and full of emotion. So eventually I started to sit him in the same place and I would say to him, sit here and find your smile. When you have found your smile, come and show me! He would sit there and then once found it, he would show me! I would give him lots and lots of praise.

    Now if he gets upset he will take him self to that place and he will not get up until he has found his smile! It has made him understand emotions, and most importantly he understands that he can make himself happy again!!

    It is lonely being a single mummy, but there are loads of us out there and that is why I have started the parents community at http://www.weareparents.co.uk... the website is now open, so please come and join us! Look forward to seeing you 🙂 Lianne xxx

    morethanamummy responded:
    October 10, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    Hi Lianne
    Thank you for your reply. Wow what a journey it sounds you’ve been on and well done for coming through the other side and helping your little man understand these very adult things that they haven’t asked to be a part of – bless them. It’s also fab you have used your experiences to in turn support other parents. I will certainly be checking out your website. Hats off to single parents I say! x
    L

    FionaCambouropoulos (@coombemill) said:
    October 10, 2011 at 11:55 pm

    In a way there is no right answer to the right time to let them in on the darker side of life. My advise would be that the right time is when it feels best for you. You know your child better than anyone and what they can cope with and how you feel about explining things. that’s the ‘right time’ on all these tricky life subjects. The sipder is just the beginning!

    Nikki Thomas said:
    October 11, 2011 at 7:06 am

    I completely understand!! I too am terrified of spiders, but luckily I have a husband who deals with things like that for me as I am a nightmare. I too have tried not to pass that on to my children as I don’t want them to have my fears and also if daddy isn’t around they can get rid of any unwanted creatures while mummy runs around screaming!!!

    older mum said:
    October 17, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    Really thought provoking post. Similar incident happened to me the other week as I was putting up the black out blind for night time. Enormous spider crawls across Little A’s bedroom floor – she chased after it with glee. I had to find it and put it outside. It really was a case of holding my breath and pretending all was okay – wasn’t easy. I try and ‘name’ as much of my feelings to Little A as much as I can e.g. ‘mummy is feeling angry’, mummy is feeling sad’ ……. try to role model all my feelings in a way that shows I am comfortable with my feelings in the hope Little A will be comfortable with hers …..

    Fiona (Mama's Little Baby Loves...) said:
    October 17, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    Some interesting topics here, I’m often left wondering at how to strike a balance between wanting my baby to be protected and letting him know that sometimes bad things can happen, and that it’s not nessesarily the end of the world. Isaacs so wee he wouldnt understand the emotional concepts but we’re starting with the physical! So at the moment I’m letting him pick himself up off the floor when he falls down rather than rushing over to him and smothering him with the traditional “are you okay”s, this has been a suprisingly difficult step for me. It felt unatural to sit on my hands and say ‘you ARE okay’… but the change in him has been worth it, he’s a much more confident happy baby who is more capable of reassuring himself now (also he now knows how to let me know if he really is hurt!)

      morethanamummy responded:
      October 17, 2011 at 8:48 pm

      Brilliant. It is hard not to rush to them when every instinct is to protect. Glad you’re finding a balance.

    mishmashmum said:
    October 17, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    I’m afraid I hate big spiders. I tend to have to retreat 5ft and then throw something heavy on them. I then wait for my OH to return from work to check that they are dead. This has caused some confusion with my 5yo as I tell him to protect little insects because they’re important, but then I go and kill spiders. Poor boy. It is hard to strike a balance though, I do agree. Your post has actually got me thinking about whether kids are wrapped up in cotton wool, or whether they are forced to grow up too quickly. Hmmm *strokes chin*

      morethanamummy responded:
      October 17, 2011 at 10:16 pm

      If only we knew the correct answer to that one! P.S. Spiders aren’t insects, so it’s fine! 😉

    Joanne Blunt (@joanneblunt) said:
    October 19, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    I’m really conscious of trying not to show fear in front of the children. I’ve got a horrible phobia around vomiting and I try so hard to be brave when the children are ill. I would hate them to develop a phobia themselves as I know how traumatic it has been for me. It is so difficult though .

    Natasha (@LoveInTheNest) said:
    October 21, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    Oh gosh I HATE spiders, I cannot help but freak out when I see one anywhere near me or inside the house full stop! I try to not show my fear in front of the kids but its impossible. Luckily little man isn’t afriad of them (yet) he was a bit when he saw the first few but he quickly realised he is bigger then them and he now tried to pick them up eeek!

    Website Launch Day « More Than A Mum Blog said:
    January 27, 2012 at 8:54 am

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