Jump to content

How to handle fear?


  • Please log in to reply
9 replies to this topic

#1 niggles

Posted 24 January 2013 - 03:08 PM

For the last few weeks my 4.5 year old daughter has developed an intense fear of being alone. She won't go to the toilet alone, she won't stay in a room alone and follows me around the house and she won't fall asleep alone or stay in her bed overnight. Her fear is genuine, and even interupts things she would normally love. For example, she won't go and get a toy she desperately wants to play with unless I go with her to get it, even if it means interupting her game indefinitely until I can help her out. She can be busily and happily doing something and if I leave the room then after a few minutes, or sometimes immediately, she will come and find me. It's the same when she is with her aunt, or her grandparents and when her friends are here.

It would seem the source of the issue is that she watched an episode of My Little Pony that has frightened her. Stupidly a week later she was spending the day with her older cousins and I forgot to mention the issue to my sister so they all watched a movie together that was really way too scary for her and has made things much worse. I'm absolutely kicking myself about this. That movie frightened me when I watched it the first time and I was 10 years old at the time!

I've just been running with it and that's helped a little because she spends less time working herself up about it than when it first started happening. She's also noticing less when I've left the room. I've tried to talk through her fears with her but they are very non-specific. I've tried to encourage her to try being brave for little periods of time and praising her each time she stays alone.

Does anyone have other suggestions of what I can do to help her through it or a shared experience? She already has a night light, comfort toys and our house is small so we are very nearby all the time. We've barely been apart the last few weeks so it's not a separation thing and I've had several conversations with her to make sure nothing else has happened to upset her. I'm certain she would share if it was something else going on.

I'm so nervous she won't get over this. I watched something that scared me as a child and it stayed with me for years and years. sad.gif


#2 JKTMum

Posted 24 January 2013 - 08:27 PM

Are you sure it's the movie that is causing the problem or is that just what tipped the balance? As she is 4.5 is she due to start preschool in a few weeks and this is what she is really stressing about?

Not sure if this would help at all, but my DD1 has Aspergers and has always been very nervous being away from us and when she is very nervous about a situation she almost becomes like glue, stuck to my side in the time leading up to the event. We have talked about if she is stressed and I'm not with her that she imagines me giving her a hug or squeezing her hand and that visualisation seems to calm her down. She went on an interstate camp last year with school which was a huge thing for her and she took a small photo of me which she could get out of her bag (daypack) and sleep with at night so she felt close and connected.

#3 niggles

Posted 24 January 2013 - 09:34 PM

Thanks for that suggestion. She is a very social creature and is usually eager to be out and about seeing new places and people. I'm confident she is not more than the usual level of nervous about starting preschool. It's the same school as her kindy from last year and so she's well settled in there and proud to be a pre primary kid and not a kindy kid anymore. Of course it's possible though. Her best friend won't be moving on to the pre school and I know that will be playing on her mind. We have a catch up with the other kids from the class tomorrow so her behaviour then might shed some light if it's part of the issue.

The photo is a good idea. I think I'll pop one next to her night light tomorrow to remind her that mummy and daddy are here to keep her safe. I'm sure it will be a combination of small things that proves most effective rather than a cure all solution.

#4 schnookaberg

Posted 24 January 2013 - 09:42 PM

Maybe a locket with your picture as a starting school present?

#5 niggles

Posted 24 January 2013 - 10:34 PM

That is such a great idea! She is quite receptive to the idea of little talismans. It was a 'magic crystal' that helped her stop using her dummy. So it might help her to wear it during the day and while sleeping. She wouldn't be allowed to wear it at school though. Maybe pinned in her pocket. I'm hoping the excitment of school and the business of the classroom will be enough company to stop her worries by then.

#6 beabea

Posted 31 January 2013 - 01:17 AM

I would be wary of doing too much, because I wouldn't want to put undue focus on it. If it's just the movie (plus or minus some nerves about preschool) then it should dissipate by itself, and if she can latch on to someone she's comfortable with until it does, then it seems like she's figured out a way to deal with it all by herself. Yay for her!

Of course, in the long run, you could try introducing some other coping techniques for the day she's in a situation where she has to be by herself. Stories, modelling, etc etc.


#7 niggles

Posted 31 January 2013 - 06:36 AM

Thanks for that BeaBea. Things still pretty intense around here. We've been trying to keep it on the down low but it's coming up a lot and with a baby to care for as well and often only one adult in the house to do it, her coping mechanism is running into obstacles at times. We're doing our best to just let her be with us whenever she wants but it's hard to be in two places at once sometimes, or to manage alternatives without fuss.

The stories and modelling we are trying but they are yet to have an impact. She was left in a room alone briefly this week and became very quickly hysterical until I came back.


#8 beabea

Posted 01 February 2013 - 12:33 AM

QUOTE
The stories and modelling we are trying but they are yet to have an impact.


I've found stories and modelling really work in the very long term - months at best, probably years. So that is not really meant as an immediate answer to your problem!

Just thought of another one, though. DS 4.5yo has been very receptive over the past year to these two techniques:

1. Ask him to make a triangle using his fingertips.

2. Ask him to breathe deeply as you count the breaths.

In both cases it works best if you're there - sorry - but once they get the hang of it a bit you can shout it from the next room. You have to use a fairly commanding tone. Not scary-commanding, just firm, insistent and authoritative, if you know what I mean. The sort of voice that can get through to somebody in a panic and make them feel like the secure thing to do is exactly what you say.

I think both are basically working because they're meditative techniques aimed at switching off the adrenalin/cortisol.

There was one someone posted here which is very similar. You get them to pretend they are holding a mug of hot cocoa (so it's a circle with fingertips). Then you get them to blow on the cocoa as if to cool it down (so it's measured breathing).

So yeah, just remembered that's what we've done when emotions are running high and seems to get everyone back into a workable frame of mind. That said, I suspect there's going to be a big measure of riding it out... I have to say, excessive clinginess really wears on me quickly, especially when other things need attending to, so best of luck!

#9 niggles

Posted 01 February 2013 - 12:43 AM

Thanks for that one Beabea. We do something similar to help process emotions like anger and frustration called 'doing the turtle' where she goes in her shell, says stop and takes a breath and then when she is ready comes up and says how she is feeling. She could respond to the triangle technique.



#10 Torismom63

Posted 01 February 2013 - 03:11 AM

Oh my....I'm having some of the same issues. My daughter fears started when she was 4.5yrs old too. She will be 6 in May. She is afraid of the dark...some pictures and plastic plants! She use to be so fearless!...I think they will grow out of it. My sister-in-law's daughter was the same way. She's 9 now and she has developed a lot of nerves. This kid was even afraid to ride a carousel. Now she's riding big kid rides at amusement parks.

I think we just have to give them time. I try not to force anything on her but i must admit it can be frustrating at times because i simply don't understand why she's so afraid all of a sudden. I'll keep you posted... original.gif




1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users

 

Teaching our son to say no to violence against women

Today, on White Ribbon Day - and every other day - we're teaching our son to say no to violence against women.

Mothers told to breastfeed in 'spacious' toilet

If there is one thing the owners of Tillings Cafe can be certain of, it is that the eatery won't win the award for Britain's best baby-friendly coffee shop any time soon.

Mother gives name to son dumped down drain

A woman who admitted to dumping her newborn baby down a Sydney drain has reportedly been allowed to give him a name.

Taking small steps to reduce stress

Are you feeling used up by life's stress, family problems and a demanding job you can't turn off? Many people are way beyond work-life exhaustion. They are functioning as robots.

Bad news: we're running out of chocolate

The world's biggest chocolate-maker says we're running out of chocolate.

Born at 23 weeks, 'Chopstick Baby' survives first week

A baby who was born at 23 weeks has survived her first week of life outside the womb.

Manic stations: the nesting instinct in pregnancy

It might sound like temporary insanity, but almost obsessive nesting as you near your due date isn’t uncommon – even if you’re not usually a particularly clean person.

How a baby can survive alone for days on end

The baby found abandoned in a Sydney drain may have been alone for up to six days without being fed, leaving many asking how he could have survived.

When it begins to look a lot like Christmas

A child's excitement at Christmas time is a beautiful thing, but one dad ponders whether his toddler daughter is getting into the festive mood a bit too soon.

Hospital lets dads the experience some of the pain of childbirth

A new experience is radically altering men's views of childbirth.

Italian doctors questioned over formula bribes

Italian police have placed 12 doctors under house arrest on suspicion of promoting baby milk formula over breastfeeding.

Heartwarming prank gives single mum the house she was hired to clean

Cara Simmons arrived at work to clean a large and beautiful house in time for a party planned for that evening. It was soon hers.

Those special moments of sibling bonding

Every now and then your child does or says something that is truly memorable.

Why we should stop telling new parents to 'enjoy every moment'

A few weeks ago, some dear friends of mine had their first baby. As the proud dad texted me a picture I had to fight the natural instinct to say “Enjoy every moment!”

Baby monitor footage posted online

Footage of Australian babies and children sleeping in their bedrooms are among the images on a Russian site showing live feeds from thousands of homes and businesses around the world.

Did this new dad really hit on his wife's midwife?

Was there really a man who was actually there by his wife’s side as she laboured and gave birth to his child, all while he was making what he perceived to be meaningful eye contact with a midwife?

Keep calm and ignore the Tantrum Trolls

Tantrum Trolls are a small but growing species of predatory bottom-feeders who delight in picking on parents at their most vulnerable.

It's okay to never 'get over' the death of a loved one

The death of children, siblings, and parents has long term impacts on the rest of our lives.

What Mark Latham needs to know about depression and motherhood

Love has nothing to do with mental illness. But love may drive a mother to do something about it.

'We're just trying to keep our child alive': life with FPIES

We have a beautiful seven-month-old son, and his allergy rules our life.

Transgender dad breastfeeds his babies

A transgender man who breastfed his first baby - despite having his breasts removed as part of his transformation from female to male - has now had a second child.

Couple face $1 million medical bill and bankruptcy after babymoon birth

A Canadian couple were slammed with a million dollar medical bill after their daughter was prematurely during their babymoon.

Cigarettes, junk food dominate supermarket sales growth

One in every five dollars spent at supermarkets goes on cigarettes or junk food, according to industry data.

Teacher under fire for breastfeeding in class

There is no doubt mums have a right to continue breastfeeding after they have returned to work, but one teacher in the US has taken it to the extreme.

Win a family pass to Disney Live!

We have 4 family passes to give away to see Disney Live! presents Three Classic Fairy Tales, touring Australia this December/January.

Download now: Essential Kids Activity Finder app

Got bored kids? Quickly find the best activities for kids wherever you are in Australia with the Essential Kids app.

 
Advertisement
 
Advertisement
 
 
 

What's hot on EB

Join PADDINGTON on the red carpet!

To celebrate the release of PADDINGTON, we are giving five lucky winners the chance to win a family pass to the exclusive Australian Premiere in Sydney on December 7!

The tragedy of losing a favourite teddy bear

We were green and uninitiated, perhaps a little naïve when it came to the favourite toy responsibility.

Video: Baby sniffs beardless dad to make sure it's him

She looks him up and down and then touches his chin, but baby Lindsey still isn't sure this clean-shaven man is her dad.

It's possible to workout while pregnant

Medical experts say intense fitness routines can be done safely during pregnancy - if the mums-to-be follow some guidelines.

What parents really want for their kids

Are our hopes, dreams and expectations for our children what they really need?

'I had a feeling something was seriously wrong'

Before even giving birth, Katie Myers' maternal instincts warned her something was wrong with her baby.

When your pregnancy causes a relationship rift

Some dads-to-be don't miss a beat when their partner is pregnant; others struggle with a range of issues and can become withdrawn, right when their support is needed most.

Couple uses group photo trick to announce pregnancy to loved ones

Katharine and Kris Camilli devised a clever trick to immortalise their family and friends' reactions to their exciting pregnancy news.

Why Tracey Spicer has given up make-up

"After 30 years on television, I had become what I despised: a painted doll who spent an hour a day and close to $200 a week putting on a mask."

Knowing you are one of the lucky ones

I am secure, confident and strong, but the responsibility of protecting my children can almost bring me undone.

Why I am so emotional now I have kids?

There are so many ways in which parenthood changes us as women, but one of the most noticeable, for me, has been the changing state of my emotions.

Baby survives despite sharing womb with 'foreign body'

Baby Maia was conceived against the odds, only to find she was sharing a womb with an ominous "foreign body".

Video: Baby shows dog how to jump - or vice versa

They say dog is man's best friend, but this playful pooch seems to have chosen a jumping baby as her number one buddy.

10 ways to soothe a crying baby

New paernts can get frustrated when their newborn gets fussy and can't settle down. When you're feeling overwhelmed, try some of these simple tips to help soothe your baby.

20 baby names that are becoming more popular every year

The data-lovers at nameberry.com have been at it again – this time, they’ve discovered the names that are continually rising up the ranks, ready to take out some top spots in the next few years.

10 great meals to make for new parents

Ideally, you want to give food that isn’t expensive to make, isn't too difficult to create, and freezes well; stews, bakes, soups and pasta sauces are perfect.

Weird pregnancy products

Some pregnancy products come to market and are just awesome. Others just leave you scratching your head.

Carers admit to force-feeding children

Twin brothers have become dads on the same day ? with their partners giving birth in the same hospital, and even the same birthing pool.

 

How many weeks til Christmas?

On your To-Do list

Get the "Santa" shopping done without the kids in tow.

 
Advertisement
 
 
Essential Baby and Essential Kids is the place to find parenting information and parenting support relating to conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids, maternity, family budgeting, family travel, nutrition and wellbeing, family entertainment, kids entertainment, tips for the family home, child-friendly recipes and parenting. Try our pregnancy due date calculator to determine your due date, or our ovulation calculator to predict ovulation and your fertile period. Our pregnancy week by week guide shows your baby's stages of development. Access our very active mum's discussion groups in the Essential Baby forums or the Essential Kids forums to talk to mums about conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids and parenting lifestyle. Essential Baby also offers a baby names database of more than 22,000 baby names, popular baby names, boys' names, girls' names and baby names advice in our baby names forum. Essential Kids features a range of free printable worksheets for kids from preschool years through to primary school years. For the latest baby clothes, maternity clothes, maternity accessories, toddler products, kids toys and kids clothing, breastfeeding and other parenting resources, check out Essential Baby and Essential Kids.