How to deal with a child’s fear?

We all fear something. Most children are afraid of the dark and that’s a fear that we, adults, understand because we often went through it. Most adults are afraid of spiders, rats or snakes for some reasons, thinking, rightfully or not, they can be harmful.

So we find a logic and we assume that fear is normal and is not something you can control.

What if it’s a fear that you don’t understand? Something that you think your child has no reasons to be afraid of?

My 1 year and 1/2 has developed a fear for… stickiness. I’ve actually never heard of it before, especially among children who are famous for “loving” or at least “not caring” being dirty. I know for months now that he hates having something sticky on his hands. He doesn’t take a slice of bread if it has cream cheese on it even if he loves eating it. He’d rather eat a creamy cake with his face than touching it with his fingers. Yesterday I made homemade play doh, hoping that it would help to work out his fear by seeing how much fun we can have with it together…

He was actually disgusted just by looking at it. After maybe half an hour of trying to get his interest, he came to give it a quick punch (like I was showing him) and went back to his comfort zone, 2 metres away. I did manage to make him laugh though by playing happily with the play doh, but in the end he was still very scared of it.

Part of me wants to let it go.

He doesn’t like sticky stuff, so? He still loves playing with pencils and painting (with a paintbrush obviously). Why should I force him?

He will eventually get over it, no?

Part of me wants to help him.

Thinking about all the children in the Nursery playing with play doh or hand painting and him not being able to enjoy it makes me feel sad. It does.

I’m his mother. He has a (small) problem, I want to fix it. Is that bad?


What do you think? How would you help him to get over his fear? Would you just ignore it?

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