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

 

Life with anxiety

At times, I feel pretty worthless. In those moments, all I want to do is curl up into a ball and hide in the dark. I can try to quiet my mind, but it won?t shut up.

IVF leaves woman pregnant with another couple's twins

An Italian woman has been told the twins she is three months pregnant with are not hers.

'My mother-in-law found out our baby's gender behind our backs'

My husband and I mutually decided that we didn?t want to know our baby's sex before the birth, but his mother couldn't handle that.

What you need for the 'fourth trimester'

In my opinion, the first three months after the birth are the most intense. Here's what got me through that time after welcoming my baby.

Weaning a toddler off a dummy: a 15-day plan

Weaning your child off the dummy can be a traumatic experience for both of you. Here are some tips to help you through.

Choosing to be a solo parent

Two women share their stories of longing for a baby so much that they each decided not to wait for a partner before becoming a mum.

Asphyxia link another piece of the SIDS puzzle

An Australian study has uncovered information which could lead to a better understanding of why babies die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Rescue dog Zoey and BFF Jasper star in adorable pics

Photographer, self-professed "crazy dog lady" and mum Grace Chon takes photos of rescue dog Zoey and her 10-month-old son Jasper together. The results are just too cute. See more on Instagram @thegracechon.

The ultimate travel stroller: the Mountain Buggy nano

We tried the Mountain Buggy nano and give it an enthusiastic thumbs up. As the ultimate travel stroller, it's practical, has great features, and looks fab, too.

Mum's heartbreak as son dies in road accident

Daly Thomas and her two young sons were walking home from church on Tuesday afternoon. Her youngest son never made it.

New Kate Spade baby bag designs

Don?t adjust your screen: this bright beauty is coming to you in full colour.

Easter gifts for babies, no chocolate in sight!

If this is your little one?s first Easter you might want to mark the occasion with something a little extra special. Here are 10 Easter gift ideas, which won't harm little teeth.

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

Win the brand new phil&teds vibe

Check out the good looking new release of the Vibe 3 and the Verve 4-wheeler inline strollers. To celebrate their release, we have a Vibe with double kit to give away.

Baby sleep

From birth to one year and beyond, read about baby sleep, soothing techniques, routines, and sleep school experiences.

Easter gifts for babies, no chocolate in sight!

If this is your little one?s first Easter you might want to mark the occasion with something a little extra special. Here are 10 Easter gift ideas, which won't harm little teeth.

7 tips for a kid-free trip, not a guilt trip

Although I?m jumping out of my skin to take my child-free holiday, I?m dreading the goodbye. But I?m determined to make the most of it without tarnishing it with guilt or sadness about leaving the kids.

Itchibubs: clothes for babies and toddlers with eczema

Parents of children who suffer from eczema will know only too well the scratching that occurs around the clock. A new clothing range aims to help make everyone more comfortable.

Ear piercing: what age is best?

What is it that shapes our opinions on what?s an 'appropriate' age for our children to get their ears pierced? Parents share their views on how young is too young when it comes to piercing.

Caring for kids helps grandmothers stay mentally alert

Looking after grandchildren can help grandmothers ward off brain disease - but it's also possible to get too much of a good thing, researchers say.

Why I loved my third home water birth

After two water births at home, I was determined to give birth to my son the same way. I just hoped this birth would be quicker than my last two.

Revealed: 7 ways food marketers try to trick consumers

If you?re confused by food labels, you?re not alone. Next time you?re shopping for food, look out for these seven common labelling tricks.

'My mother-in-law found out our baby's gender behind our backs'

My husband and I mutually decided that we didn?t want to know our baby's sex before the birth, but his mother couldn't handle that.

 

Free Printable Activities

Keeping little hands busy

Free printable acitivity pages like colouring in, cutting, word finders, mazes, maths activities and puzzles.

 
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.