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

 

Tell us what you think

to WIN 1 of 2 $500 Coles/Myer gift cards

What not to say to a new mum

Some phrases just pop out before you really think about them, but there are some things you should try to not say to a new mum.

Why I'm glad to be an indulgent granny

The phone calls started a couple of weeks ago. At about 5.30 each evening - if I am lucky - I will be greeted by a sweet, excited voice declaring: "'Allo Annie".

Is this the worst relationship advice ever published?

You sometimes have to wonder whether relationship/sex advice from magazines is designed to help or humiliate.

How you talk to your baby now can impact social skills later

People used to think that social skills were something kids were born with, not taught.

Three truths about C-section mums

Lately I've been thinking about the caesarean stories and the brave women who birth their children with strength and beauty.

Scientists predict when you should start a family

Scientists have calculated at exactly what age you need to start trying to get pregnant to have the best chance of realising your dream. 

Differently abled child

When 'protecting' a child is really a cover for judgement

Why are people so concerned for this happy child and his mother?

When toddlers have strange obsessions

When it comes to two-year-olds and birthday cakes there are a few requests that are usually at the top of the list. But a cake featuring a local personal injury lawyer?

When Mama Bear strikes

When we become mums, our instinct to protect our children and keep them safe from harm is so strong we're often likened to a Mama Bear protecting her cubs.  

Immunity boosters for kids

There are no guaranteed ways to avoid the dreaded winter illnesses completely, but there are ways we can boost our children's immunity.

Mum shares portrait of her proudly breastfeeding three-year-old

Jade Beall usually chooses to breastfeed her son, now 3, in private. This week, however, she shared portraits of her breastfeeding her preschooler.

Dealing with a toddler's morning tantrums

Your schedule is not important to your two-year-old, and you cannot convince her otherwise. So what can you do?

Child in suitcase 'could have died eight years ago'

A child whose remains were dumped in a suitcase in the South Australian bush is believed to have been a girl aged between two-and-a-half to four.

MP breastfeeds baby during parliamentary session

An Argentinian mum and politician has caused a stir on social media after being filmed breastfeeding her baby.

My baby's first seizure

It was 1am on a cold winter's night when I woke suddenly to the screams of my 12-month-old son. Our lives were about to change forever.

Portable pools 'more dangerous than permanent ones'

Inflatable and portable children's pools may be required to be sold with compulsory fencing to prevent backyard drownings, with some experts even floating the idea of a ban.

Heartbreaking moment mum kisses her one-week-old goodbye

At 11.07am on April 2 this year, Sarah Marriott welcomed baby Sebastian into the world.

The amazing Tee Pee bed and kid-friendly Frankie Bunk bed

These kids' beds definitely fit the brief of providing personality and personal space for little people who are moving up in the world.

The funny things kids say when you're pregnant

Since becoming noticeably pregnant, my son has taken more of an interest in the sibling he'll soon have.

The real problem with having one child

In this age of political correctness, it seems the one subject still subject to discrimination is that of the Only Child.

Six-week-old baby found dead, believed stabbed

A neighbour heard a child screaming before a baby was found dead, believed to have been stabbed, in a house in Newcastle.

The fire hazard in more than 70,000 Australian homes

So far, 206 Samsung washing machines have caught fire and some have exploded. But many remain in people's homes.

How having a baby can bring on OCD

We all know that having a baby can turn your life upside down - and it can also bring a raft of new anxieties and worries.

IVF gender selection being considered for Australian parents

Couples using IVF may be able to choose the gender of their babies and women could be financially compensated for donating their eggs.

The best age to get married (according to the latest study)

Not too young, and not too old. That's reportedly the best age to get married. Not everyone agrees.

Get your FREE Baby & Toddler Show ticket!

Get your free ticket to the Sydney Essential Baby & Toddler Show for September 25-27 - register online now.

 
Advertisement
 
Advertisement
 
 
 

What's hot on EB

Tell us what you think

to WIN 1 of 2 $500 Coles/Myer gift cards

Why I'm choosing to be a single mother right from the start

I believe that you get out of families what you put into them, and I will give mine my all.

Mother and baby units are a necessity for mental health, not a luxury

I have had two postnatal psychotic episodes. The first when my eldest child was six weeks old, and another after my second child was born.

30 French baby names

French names are always in fashion, but a few have risen in popularity in recent years.

New mum's Spanish maternity nightmare

A British woman who gave birth in Spain has told of her ordeal after spending weeks trying to convince medics the baby girl was hers.

Preparing Rover to be a good dog with baby

Some friends of ours say that it's dangerous to have a dog around a newborn and that we should start looking for a new home for him. Is it?

Company offers to ship working mums' breast milk home

First Apple and Facebook announced they would pay $20,000 towards the cost of their female employees freezing their eggs, now IBM in the US has come up with an innovative new policy aimed at retaining female employees.

Prince William speaks of his pride at wife Kate and 'little joy of heaven' Charlotte

The Duke of Cambridge opened up about family life and his plans for the future in an interview to mark his first day as an air ambulance pilot.

'Glowing' eye saves baby Mason's life

A simple photo taken in front of an evening fire gave new mother Sarah Bowers the power to save her baby's life. 

Parenting and decision overload

Of all the advice people told me before having a baby, no one warned me about the amount of decisions involved.

Proof that toddlers can't be left unsupervised - ever

Parents of toddlers all know the moment when realise your child is being suspiciously quiet. It can only mean one thing - trouble!

Meet Jeremy Ryan, The Voice contestant with seven kids

If you have trouble recalling the ages of Jeremy Ryan's seven children on The Voice, you're not alone. So does he.

Baby's adorable reaction to wearing glasses for the first time

Getting glasses can be a formative moment in a person's life.

Police officer buys supplies for family after mum of six caught shoplifting

When a mum of six was caught shoplifting nappies, clothes and shoes for her kids, the last thing she expected was for a stranger to pay for her haul.

Why pregnant women on antidepressants shouldn’t panic about birth defect claims

The risk of having uncontrolled depression is far greater than the small increased risk of birth defects that may be associated with specific antidepressants.

Arrests made over children's birthday party brawl

Police have raided properties and arrested a number of people over a brawl at a child's birthday party at a play centre in Sydney's west.

Family shares awesome drone baby announcement

Looking for a creative way to share some big news? Look to the skies, like this family did.

Young warrior Owen defies doctors' predictions

Little Owen DiCandilo's name means "young warrior", and it's a description that perfectly fits the inspiring 18-month-old

Advice for dads: when to approach your wife for sex

The exhaustion that comes with caring for young children often means romance between parents becomes a thing of the past.

I might be fat, but I don't need saving

I've been fat for pretty much most of life, besides a few crazy moments of being less-fat, but for the most part I've existed on this earth with a little more meat on my bones than desirable.

The rookie mistakes we make as parents

Since the dawn of civilisation, generation after generation of new parents have had to rely on instinct, trial and error - and sometimes get it wrong.

 

FREE TICKET

See Pinky McKay live in Sydney

Get your free ticket to The Essential Baby & Toddler Show and save $20 - register online now!

 
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.