I have a confession: I hate spiders. Really, really hate them. I don't like them in my house, but I don't want them outside my house, either, because, well, I can't stay inside all the time. Yes, yes, you are mentally arguing with me that spiders are a part of nature, they eat mosquitoes that can make us sick, live and let live, etc. And I totally agree with you, except that I still hate spiders and I feel the need to squish them.
There was one incident as a child that sealed the deal for me: I was playing hide and seek with a neighbor, and I ran into my play house to hide. My dad had built the play house for me, and it wasn't air tight. In fact, it was apparently home to a gang of spiders, one of which descended from the ceiling and landed on my arm. I was about 5 or 6 years old at the time, so, adjusting the ratio of spider to arm accordingly, it would be like having a tarantula on my arm now. As for the hide and seek game, my friend was able to follow the sounds of my screaming and find me right away.
When I was at home, my dad didn't necessarily share my revulsion toward spiders, but he sure didn't like my screams of terror, so he gamely helped me knock them down from the house and squish them. I used to sing "Another One Bites the Dust" every time we got one. (Good memories of my daddy!)
As for now...well, I'm not setting a very good example for my kiddo. And I really want to. I just can't stand spiders. I swear I can feel my cortisol levels rise inside me every time I see one. Not the puny window spiders, mind you, but the big, hairy ones that dangle above my door and deck. The ones that I'm sure are plotting to swing down and land on me, just for laughs.
However, seeing my kiddo react negatively to one when, really, she has no reason--she has never been the victim of a spider assault--gave me pause. My phobias shouldn't be her phobias. She should have the chance to develop her own. If she honestly becomes terrified of spiders, well, I can't blame her. But I don't want to encourage her, either. After all, when hubby isn't around and a nasty 8-legger violates our space, I'll need the kiddo to, ahem, neutralize the problem. (The cat doesn't have what it takes for spider catching; he caught a huge one and had it in his mouth--and it was still crawling! <<Shudder!>>)
My main concern isn't showing a weakness to the kiddo; she can find those on her own. I don't want her to learn that it's OK to treat some creatures kindly but not others. This is within reason, of course. A friend of mine chooses to relocate ugly insects rather than kill them, except for mosquitoes. Since she's concerned about West Nile Virus, she kills them out of self defense. Any animal that is destructive or dangerous must, of course, be dealt with. But plotting the demise of a creature just because it makes the hairs on my neck stand straight up and raises my blood pressure and causes me heart palpitations?
Check out this recipe for for a d-i-y spider repellent!