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how to conquer kid's big fish phobia


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I wasn't sure which forum to post this in, but since we primarily fish for lm, I thought I would try here first.

My 12 year old daughter has loved bass fishing. However, she will only fish in water that has largemouth bass or bluegills. She hooked a pretty sizeable carp one day, which nearly pulled her into the water, and now she is freaked out about fish.

I didn't realize how bad it was until we told the kids we are taking them to Underwater World at the MOA. She was very adament that she didn't want to go. Being the nice mom that I am, I had a little chat with her, and told her she would be going anyway. She also has fears of heights, deep water, horses, and large dogs. Most of these fears have developed in the last year or so.

Have any of you experienced anything similar, or how do you think I should handle this? She has been my best fishing partner, and I would hate to lose that because she is too scared. She is the only one of our girls who will say "Just one more cast, ok Dad? We can go in a minute, right, Mom?"

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Wow! My only fear of big fish is losing one. grin.gif

Boy, I have to stop my daughter from doing some things because she doesn't have much fear (except loud noises). I don't know what you do. I have curbed my daughter's phobia of loud noises much like I did with my dog. We "practice" by repeatedly shooting a 12 guage at increasingly closer distances. I think her seeing me do it with confidence has helped.

Do you have any heavy tackle that you can take her carp fishing with? Catch a couple and let her take a couple cranks on each fish with you holding the rod. The heavier action rods might help her and you handle the fish. Tip-up fishing for pike through the ice might be another good way to build confidence.

Good luck and be patient. Kids are a tough nut to crack (I'm sure you know that already).

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This daughter was the one who had no fear. She would climb up on things all the time, do flips on the couch, anything to make me nervous!

We went to Underwater Adventures yesterday at the Mall of America. She walked into the woods part, and grabbed my hand. Several times she pulled back and did not want to go in. By the time we got to the tunnel, she was terrified. I had her face me, and put her head on my chest, and didn't force her to look at anything. I described the different scenes to her, and let her get to the point where she would take a peek. During the first setting - the fisherman's scene - she was sobbing, because she was so scared. There were some monster carp in there, so I did not encourage her to look. It was awesome for the rest of us, though! Right away you could see the bottom of the "ice", and a hole where a couple of ice fishermen were looking into the water. A little later, there was a rowboat at anchor with Spongebob looking over the edge. The really cool part was watching the fish, and how they were relating to structure. Sure enough, there was a largemouth directly under the boat, using it for cover.

As we went farther along into the tunnel, with me explaining the different fish, daughter settled down, and would even take a peek or two. By the time we reached the colorful reef fish, she was looking around openly, and starting to enjoy the view. After the tunnel, there is an area that contains different aquariums with jelly fish, sea horses, coral, starfish, fish from the movie Finding Nemo, octopus, etc. She was still hanging onto my hand, but was enjoying that part. She looked into the pool where you can touch a ray or a bamboo shark, but she wouldn't go near enough to put her hand in. I was proud of her for trying to overcome her fears, and proud of myself for not loosing patience with her!

As she and I went to get groceries tonight, we had time to discuss our trip to the Cities, and Underwater Adventures. She is glad she went, and she thinks it helped her a little bit. Hopefully, by the time summer comes, we can have the excitement back.

Thanks to all who have read this post! Thanks Ray for your reply.

Hopefully we can go back to the Mall, and through the aquarium again. If you haven't had a chance to go, I would recommend it. However, I would search for discounts on ticket prices.

Carolyn (fishinchicks)

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