Is it my fault that my kids are afraid of animals? Probably, but that's ok

When Juliana was 3 years old, her father and I took her to a petting zoo, where half of the animals were out in the open and people could walk freely among them. The scarier animals, like the tigers, were behind a huge cage and for certain portions of the zoo, people are supposed to stay inside the car, with their windows open.

My husband's fondest memory of that day–-three years ago--was when the giraffe introduced her huge head trough the sunroof, grabbing the food from my lap, thus making me scream like an absolute maniac, then my three year old followed suit, first screaming and then crying. Her father was crying too, but from laughter and then he spent the whole day blaming me for making our daughter scared of animals.


And because we didn't have enough of a dose of fear and fighting, we repeated the same scene yesterday, only this time we took our 2 year old, my daughter who's now 6 and my niece who's the same age.

I had told my husband a couple days before, "Please don't repeat the same stunt with the animals, I don't find it funny and I will certainly scream"

But of course, he did. It was the first thing that happened. The giraffe introduced her head through the rooftop and I jumped and screamed as much as I did last time. The kids started screaming in unison and my two-year-old kid kept hugging me, trying to stay away from that foreign and huge creature that got inside our car.

Damn Kiko. I knew he would do this, and of course immediately after, he started giving me the "fear speech" and blaming me for having kids that are scared of animals (unlike him who thinks he's Crocodile Dundee). I almost killed him, "Okay Mister, I don't see why being a bit fearful of wild animals is something that will affect the lives of my children, since it's unlikely that a giraffe will appear in the middle of NYC and they will have a panic attack"

Kiko was away for a month and I had told him that Diego was into animal movies lately, so when he said "But Diego loves animals and you are making him scared of them" I was like "Please don't compare the characters in Madagascar to the actual live animals in this place and please don't think for one second that those animal characters had left the screen and come prancing inside our house. They stay put as they should"

Ok, I am not the bravest woman in town and I know it. I even recognize the fact that I might need a light on when I go to bed at night and my husband is away, but my fear of wild animals or the supernatural, has never affected my lifestyle or my kids'.

I just hope (in silence) that a bear doesn't ever come knocking at our door, as much as I hope not to ever receive a visit from my dead Grandmother.

 Have you passed on a fear to your kids?

Topics: how to parent  parents and children