This past summer, one of my children was stung by a bee. It was not anything crazy it was just a bee sting. It did not help that it was on her face, or that she was stung twice, or that everyone involved in the situation completely overreacted. What did matter was that she got stung. Now she is deathly afraid of the outside and deathly afraid of anything that flies. But specifically, she is deathly afraid of wasps. She did not get stung by wasps, but wasps seem to be flying around our house the most, and this is where the fear lies. For the past several months we have been learning different ways to help reduce her fear in bees and wasps.
Fear in general terms
Fear is a hard thing to battle. There are many good articles on it and books, but fear is the most difficult emotion to overcome. So for most of the summer, we were cooped up inside because of fear. But while cooped up inside, we tried to devise solutions to help deal with the fear of wasps.
But most importantly, don’t underestimate the power fear can have on children. It can become a lifelong issue of delay with the wrong way.
Fear of bees is called Apiphobia, while the fear of wasps is Spheksophobia. After being stung, a child may have both.
Ways to decrease fear in bees and wasps
time, lots of time
After any traumatic event, everybody needs time. There is no set time for how long it takes to feel better mentally and emotionally. While some kids are resilient and can overcome it almost instantly, others may take weeks, months, or even longer. But, you need to give a time. You need to be patient, you need to be understanding, and you need to give it time. I cannot stress this enough.
don’t Force confronting the fear
Sadly, there are times when having to go outside as necessary. I mean, let’s be honest, you can’t stay in your house forever. Aside from those times when you have to go outside, allowing your child to work through their emotions slowly can be helpful. Because the last thing you want to do is have a child screaming every time they go outside. And forcing them to confront their fear of bees by putting them into the middle of a garden that is in full bloom will not give you the desired outcome you are seeking.
Use logic and Science
As a household of scientists and engineers, we like to use logic to explain everything in our house. And science experiments are a big part of that. Using logic can help a child understand what is going on. It may not cure the fear completely, but it will start to grow the seed that there is some possibility that things are improving and won’t happen again.
We started tallying how many times we would go outside. Every time we would go into the car from the house, it would be one tally mark. Any time whatsoever that we went outside, we would get a tally mark. There was also a column to track every time we got attacked by a bee or a wasp. As an adult, you can appreciate that the going-outside column got filled very quickly, and the being-attacked-by-bees column had nothing in it. After about two weeks and about five pages of no attack tally marks, the understanding that we weren’t going to be attacked every time we went outside started sinking in. The simple science experiment significantly helped reduce the anxiety.
learn about bees and wasps
Have your child learn about bees and wasps. Watch videos and documentaries on the lifecycle of bees, learn about why they can be stung, learn all about them. Even a 10-minute clip can I have a lot of information about these insects. All of this information will be absorbed by your child and help them understand that there is no need to be as scared as they are.
These are some good videos about bees and wasps that we watched that help us reduce our anxiety and fear about them:
- A Bee’s Diary
- Telling a Single Bee’s Story in a Creative New Way
- Facts About Bees – Secret Nature
- Why are hornets and yellow jackets so aggressive this time of year?
Do activities to understand more about bees
We started to incorporate activities and crafts in our house that included the concept of bees and wasps. We would play games pretending to be bees and pretending to sting each other. Of course, this would produce a lot of laughter which is very good for helping cure fear.
Also, we did a lot of crafts about bees. We would draw bees and learn how to draw wasps. We would make crafts to add to our backpacks, our walls, and our water bottles. Bees and wasps everywhere in our house. Also, we made a honeycomb for them to live inside. You can find the tutorial here. All of these activities helped normalize having bees and wasps around us. Even though they were only paper, it significantly helped reduce anxiety.
I am completely against rewarding children to justify behavior preemptively. However, in this situation, I am completely for it. If you can give your child candy, a teddy bear, whatever it is that makes them comfortable to help them surpass this fear, do it. I cannot stress enough how much this will make your life more manageable. Over time, this bribery will have to stop. But hopefully, it will get you through the hump where the fear is the worst. Especially in the late summer early fall when the wasps are out in full force.
Seek Professional help
Some experiences can be so traumatic that no matter what you do, it will not help. If you get to this point, look for help. There is no point in having a traumatized child for the rest of their lives if you can get a professional to help with the problem. There is no shame in that.
Final thoughts on being scared of bees and wasps
I have to be honest with you. It has been a long journey to overcome the fear of bees. It has been an even longer journey to overcome the fear of wasps. And I think there is still a lot of time needed to finish the healing process, but in my opinion, that is the key. Time is the key. Everybody needs time to get over traumatic events in their lives. For a little child, a sting by a bee or a wasp is a very traumatic event. In time, it will pass. Hopefully.
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