With the first calendar event of spring just around the corner, Mother’s Day, many of us will be thinking of ways to thank our mothers. Our mothers gave birth to us, raised us and instilled us with all her virtues and values. As a child, we inherited a lot of her qualities and have so much to be grateful for- and not!
The truth is, you probably have inherited a lot of good qualities from your mum but you’ve also inherited her fears too. Do you have a phobia of spiders, crossing roads or talking to strangers? Thank your mum for that.
Studies have shown that all our fears, apart from falling and loud noises, are learnt. As children, we are very receptive and react to whatever our parents do or say whether good or bad. Children develop by associating these experiences in their subconscious where learned fears reside.
Overreacting to a situation or telling a child to not do something because it might harm them, keeps a child safe but could also cause negative long-term implications. In a Swedish study, scientists showed volunteers images of snakes and flowers whilst giving them a shock. The volunteers soon learnt to associate both images with fear. This suggests, that we have the ability to develop biases really quickly as we associate some things with negative words or a fearful voice. It doesn’t end there. Fears which start in childhood can remain until adulthood so its important we deal with our negative emotions before we pass them onto others. The best way to do this is through self-awareness, another way is to slowly increase exposure to the imagined ‘threat’.
Then again, if you are a Mum I wouldn’t beat yourself up too much. Some studies suggest that babies might actually pick up the scent of fear, in which case, it’s not all down to accidentally saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. And as negative as it might sound, think of all the ways you have protected your child and kept him or her healthy and safe. Our mothers deserve our thanks and acknowledgement everyday not just on Mothers Day. Thanks for all that you do. We wish you a Happy Mothers Day.
By Natasha Kelly