On the surface you would never know that I had this problem.
You see, I am terrified of skydiving. I have never been sky diving and chances are that if you tried to get me on a plane to go sky diving my reaction would be similar to that of my cat’s when I decided to try and give it a bath when I was a little boy. I swear I haven’t been able to smile properly since that cat latched on to my face with its claws as it launched itself towards the other side of the house.
I am fine in airplanes. In fact I love flying. But I do not love the idea of jumping out of a perfectly good airplane and plummeting towards the rock hard ground with a glorified bed sheet flapping behind me.
Does everybody have this fear? Well apparently not. Plenty of people actually have to jump out of planes regularly as part of their job. Others do it for fun. Fun? Can you believe that?
As the years roll by my fear of skydiving shows no abating. In fact I would say that I am probably more afraid of jumping out of an aircraft now then I have ever been. And do you know why I am still afraid of skydiving? (Aside from the obvious reason that it involves jumping out of a plane?!)
Avoidance. The more I avoid something the more frightened I become of it.
If, on the other hand, I joined the air force and had to practice jumping out of moving aircrafts on a regular basis I would probably eventually get over my fear. Granted, there would always be some nerves, which is good for peak performance, but I would probably lose the paralyzing fear I feel about it now.
It’s the same with childhood fears too. And while some fears should be fostered (such as strangers, running out onto the road, big, vicious dogs etc.) others need to be discouraged by breaking your child’s pattern of avoidance.
As long as your child avoids what it is that they are afraid of, they will continue to be afraid of it.
Let me give you some practical ideas about how to help your child learn to avoid avoidance.
As is a fear of jumping out of a plane.