Why We Don't Teach Our Toddler To Fear

Note: I'm no professional or expert in the field of child growth or behavior. I'm just your regular run-of-the-mill stay-at-home mom learning and discovering the complexities of child development through observation.

This post may or may not resonate with you and that's fine. If you think you can glean something from it, then keep on reading. If not, simply move on. ;)


Do you know we are born with only two fears? That's right. Only two. One is the fear of falling. And the other is the fear of loud noises. That means, all the other fears are learned through our upbringing, environment, culture, and other outward influences. Yes, including the one you have right now! Don't believe me? Read here.

Don't get me wrong. Fear is not altogether a negative emotion. We need healthy doses of it. God is awesome. He does not make trash. Fear has a purpose. It serves as our built-in alert system, warning us of the possibility of danger.

Let's say a guy sees a lion approaching or a villainous individual carrying a weapon. If he's foolish to ignore the warning signs he'd be sent to the grave shortly. Not unless the lion hadn't devoured all of him. There's nothing to bury if there's nothing left of him, right? (Okay, enough with the grave talk!)

Fear is important for our survival. But many times, we pick up unhealthy ones throughout our lives. This begins at home.

Now, I don't want to throw blame games here. I'm sure our parents did their best when they were raising us. You see, information was limited during their era. Everything they know how to parent comes from their own families, friends, neighbors, or others.

If you tread adult life with so many fears just like me. It can be overcome. Hard but possible. But why make it equally hard for our children when learning unhealthy fears could be avoided early on?

Children under 0-8 are in their formative years. This stage is the best time to teach them good practices to thrive in life. This is the perfect season to program their subconscious mind to form the right habits.

Why We Don't Teach Our Toddler To Fear

Why we don't teach our toddler to fear

Since information is received through our ear gates and eye gates, I'll break the why's down into two parts. Check them out below.

Through the Eye gates...

It was a dance hour. Whenever music plays in the apartment the little boy immediately swings to the beat. The husband wanted to review an old dance move from his teenage years, so he searched for the music video on Youtube. The video isn't scary. But one of the singers in the band shriek in fear when a preserved animal suddenly appeared out of where.

Our little boy cried. He got scared by what he saw. Later that night, he woke up screaming. It doesn't look like something is wrong. The husband asks him if he had a bad dream. He kept saying 'bad dream' on repeat.

Since then we've been extra careful with the programs we allow him to see. There are certain images that bedevil our children's minds. This includes witches, ghosts, monsters, and all their obnoxious looking cousins. Not that it didn't happen before but sometimes scarier instances like above go through unfiltered.

We may be too traditional with our approach but we choose to do this because we value peace in our home.

Through the Ear gates...

  • We don't discipline with fear. Here's an example. When we hear sirens wailing outside, we don't say, "You hear that sound? That's the police car. They will arrest you and put you in jail if you don't listen. Another is, "If you continue to act naughty, someone will knock on the door and get you."
  • We don't scare him with monsters and other ugly personalities. Also, we don't teach him to feel afraid when he goes to a dark room or area in our apartment unit.
  • When other family members, unconsciously employ fear-based tactics to stop him from going somewhere (through video chat by the way), we gently inform that family member to not teach him to fear.

On times he's afraid, we soothe and comfort him. But above all, the most important thing of all, we pray to the Lord and anoint our little one with oil. We are born-again Christians and we believe in the power of the anointing oil for deliverance, protection, and healing. For reference read here.

Why is this important?

Fearing things our children couldn't see transforms into fearing the unknown into their adult years. Sadly, that's where most of us are. If that's not where you are, I admit that's where I'm at. We fear what we don't know therefore we don't step out and dream big dreams. We settle for the status quo.

That's what we don't want to see happen in our little boy's life. We want him to succeed in whatever path he chooses to. We want him to face life boldly and fearlessly. We want our children to see the 'unknown' as opportunities and challenges to become the best version of themselves.

We are not perfect parents. We have our highs and lows and we will fail. But we will keep trying. We will do everything we can to equip our little boy to flourish in his lifetime. Don't we all parents want the same?

What are the things you may have unconsciously taught or accidentally show your children to learn fear? If you're also doing the same things just like us, how do you approach it? Is yours similar to ours? If not, share notes. ;)