Bugs

By | Sunday, September 18, 2005 at 10:32 pm

We went to a great Fish Boil today, an annual event held by a friend of Sandy’s. We’ve gone for the past few years and the food is just great every time. It was just as great this year. The only problem we had, which seems to be getting worse, is Kevin’s fear of every little bug he sees and even plenty of those he DOESN’T see! Anything moving around him small enough to maybe be a bug frightens him.

In thinking about it, it explains a lot now. Kevin never wants to go outside and play with his friends any more. We figured maybe he just doesn’t feel like it whenever his friends are outside, but now I think it’s actually his fear of bugs. He just can’t concentrate outside at all without whipping around, back and forth, constantly checking his surroundings for any sign of a bug. We continue to explain that most bugs are totally harmless, try to get him to look at them more on the computer and in books, etc. Hopefully he’ll just outgrow this problem, but it’s pretty disturbing at the moment. ParentCenter.com had this to say on the subject:

For now, your job is to acknowledge his anxiety and help him feel more comfortable with creepy crawlies. Encourage him to talk about what scares him and reassure him that you understand why he’s frightened. Resist the urge to laugh even if his fear of flies seems a bit silly. If he has had an unfortunate encounter with a bee, he’s got ample ammunition for his aversion. Recognize that contact with some critters can indeed hurt, but do so in a calm, matter-of-fact fashion.

Be sure to point out examples, such as fireflies and butterflies, which are beautiful and harmless. Check out bug books from your local library, then sit down together to read about the wonders of the insect world. The more he understands about spiders and their habits, the less fearful he’s likely to be. Taking a trip to an insect exhibit at a natural history museum is another “safe” way to expose your child to beetles and bugs. You can also casually introduce him to insects on your walks together — just don’t overreact when you encounter something that stings. Say, “Look at that lovely blue dragonfly.” And, “Watch out for the wasp.” In their own time, most kids combat this angst and go on to become fascinated with everything six-legged and small. Your child may wind up keeping worms or collecting cocoons for pets. So if a moth lands near him now, go ahead and help him shoo it out a window. Eventually he’ll learn to appreciate these creatures of nature.

So there you go. It sounds like good advice. We’ve taken him to the museum many times and focused on bugs, looked at their parts under the microscope, etc., so we’re doing what we can. We’ll see how it goes I guess.