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AIBU to be annoyed at a 12 year old being scared of thunder?

(51 Posts)
Rosamund1 Fri 16-Sep-16 04:09:12

My dd is incredibly spoiled by my DM her grandma and when she visits (alone) over the summer holidays comes back very babyish. She is 12 and crying about wanting to sleep in our bed because of thunder.

Once she started secondary school I said no more sleeping in our bed. I just have the one and to be honest she still doesn't 'sleep through the night' at age 12. Mummy I want a drink of water, cold, wind, scary shadow. Typing this out now she seems insecure, but normally she is a really outgoing child.

Iliveinalighthousewiththeghost Fri 16-Sep-16 04:31:14

YABU. . If she's scared, she's shes scared. Age has absolutely nothing to do with it.
My DM was always scared of the dark.
It never left her.

WhereTheFuckIsMyFuckingCoat Fri 16-Sep-16 04:34:24

Hmmm. I'm not sure really. I would definitely knock the cold/thirsty etc on the head, as that is a bit much for a generally secure 12yo, however, the thunder fear could be genuine and I'd always be wary of ignoring a genuine fear.

I'd need to speak to gm too though, just to remind her that dd is 12yo now, and as such, should be encouraged to do more for herself - treated like a young adult.

Is it only at night that dd is showing these insecurities? Have you spoken to her in daylight hours about it? I know personally that fears and worries always seem much worse at night, could there be something underlying?

SofiaAmes Fri 16-Sep-16 04:37:52

If your dd is upset, then you need to honor that. If your 12 year old dd is not sleeping through the night, then give her the respect to recognize that that's a real issue for her. Don't shame her. Give her the support that she so clearly needs. Does she need therapy, attention, or just a simple kiss and a cuddle? Just because something doesn't create anxiety for you, doesn't mean it doesn't for your dd.
My 13 year old dd doesn't sleep through the night and will still frequently crawl into bed with me. She is ostensibly outgoing, pretty, popular and successful in school and her extra curricular activities. Yet, for whatever reason (or just because she was born that way), she gets highly anxious over things that don't upset others. I give her the love and attention she needs, in the way that she needs it and that seems to keep the teenage demons (depression, cutting, drugs, acting out, etc. etc.) at bay. I also recognize what she does do so much better than her peers (ironically she might sleep in my bed, but she is by everyone's account, one of the most "mature" teenagers they have dealt with when it comes to a crisis.) What I don't do is ever shame her for needing more attention/nurturing than her peers, or having more anxiety/worries than her peers (or than I had at her age). By the way, this took a lot of thought and training (see DBT therapy) on my part to get to that didn't come easily or naturally to me.

MapleandPear Fri 16-Sep-16 04:38:39

She probably suffers from anxiety and mild insomnia, OP. I would recommend a good bedtime routine if she doesn't have one now - it can slip as they get older and do there own thing. Get her to go to bed and wake up at the same time as much as possible. There is a very good book called "What to do when you dread your bed" aimed at 5-10 year olds but I think it would help her also. You can work through it together. It gets them to talk about their worries/fears, has games and tricks to get them more comfortable with being on their own in their room, and gradually get better at staying in bed.

Being scared of thunder can be a genuine phobia though- a neighbour of ours in her 60s kept the understairs cupboard as a little room she could go to in a storm.

MapleandPear Fri 16-Sep-16 04:39:14

their own thing. Tsk.

GinIsIn Fri 16-Sep-16 04:40:00

I think 12 is of an age where you can reasonably tell them to stop being so bloody silly!

I know someone whose son is 16 and still asks "mummy can you get me a drink of water?" and asks where his mum is going every time she leaves the room - it's exhausting!

KittensWithWeapons Fri 16-Sep-16 04:41:58

Yeah, I think YABU. I'm sure she doesn't choose to be frightened. I'm 31 and I've never 'slept through the night'. I've literally never had a full night's sleep. When DP is gigging I doze on the sofa with the lights on until he gets home. Occasionally, if I'm shattered, I go to bed, but with the house lit up like Blackpool.

I had serious anxiety as a child, and still have it. Your DD might be the same. Please take it seriously. My parents didn't, and I've spent my whole life being an anxious wreck as a consequence.

Iliveinalighthousewiththeghost Fri 16-Sep-16 04:42:48

Can you not let her take a bottle of water up to bed with her.

MackerelOfFact Fri 16-Sep-16 04:45:47

I'm in my 30s and terrified of thunder, I'd be in my mum's bed right now if I could! blush

Ditsy4 Fri 16-Sep-16 04:59:23

It is perfectly acceptable for a twelve year old to be scared of thunder.

Why don't you buy her a small portable radio. Give her a water bottle. One of those glow egg lights to help her feel comforted.

Rosamund1 Fri 16-Sep-16 05:22:22

Thanks for all the answers. She's asleep in her bed now.
It's bloody exhausting not to get a full nights sleep especially when you hear people talking about how their 6 month old sleeps through the night. @wherethefuck - GM won't be spoken to. From giving dd a dummy when I didn't want her to have one (and replacing those I threw in the bin) to bottle feeding my breastfed child GM does wtf she wants and does not respect my parenting. I've told her but she ignores me and I can't afford to pay for summer holiday and half term childcare and want DD to have relationship with GM so it continues.

I will get the suggested book, so thanks.

I feel a bit bad seeing the replies. I think though I had conflated the drink of water, can't sleep with a genuine fear of thunder.

She has a glo lamp which can be dimmed. I don't think I can afford those egg things.

She is right next to the bathroom and I have put a tumbler in there and told her to help herself if she needs a drink of water but will still knock on the door at fucking 3am to let us know she's thirsty first.

NovemberInDailyFailLand Fri 16-Sep-16 05:25:16

I'm not a fan of thunder myself. Wouldn't be fussed if one of the DC wanted to cosleep because of it.

abbsismyhero Fri 16-Sep-16 05:59:52

If she is still knocking despite being told to help herself I would punish that behaviour I would also leave a sign on my door to remind her

Longlost10 Fri 16-Sep-16 06:28:20

people have fears! it has nothing to do with age. completely normal and natural to be afraid of certain things throughout your entire life. She is only 12, and at this age needs reassurance from you that fear is nothing to be ashamed of.

As for sleeping through the night, why should she? Again, many people don't. Just because her sleep requirement is different from yours, why are you making out she is morally wrong in some way? Actually, very highly intelligent people often sleep less.But it might not be anything to do with that, just her natural circadian rhythms. Maybe you are the one who is further out of sync.

I think you just need to accept your daughter as an individual, rather than a clone of you. She is never going to be identical to you in every respect, why should she be? Humans have different fears and rhythms, have a little tolerance and respect!

MapleandPear Fri 16-Sep-16 06:31:26

I used to get in bed with my mum on a Saturday morning as my dad got up early (postman). Then we would wake up and have breakfast in bed and watch TV and chat - this happened until I was about 22 I think!

MapleandPear Fri 16-Sep-16 06:32:30

Sorry - I meant to say, that might be a nice thing to do, at the weekend, instead of waking you up in the night.

PosiePootlePerkins Fri 16-Sep-16 06:32:56

My 12 yr old came out last night because of the thunder! 'What's that banging mum?' Er its thunder love, go back to bed. He has had anxiety quite badly when younger, much better now but still prone to worry. If he comes out for a wee (which some nights he still does several times) I will be very firm with him and tell him to go back to bed and go to sleep. I may sound a bit wacky (I am genuinely not a wacky person) but I have found a few drops of lavendar oil on a tissue really helps him relax and sleep.
Good luck OP.

shouldwestayorshouldwego Fri 16-Sep-16 06:34:27

I would try to stop the thirsty knocking etc - although that might be a 'I'm scared and want reassurance' request. Does she want sleepovers - maybe you can offer that as a reward for not disturbing you for 7 nights in a row she has one of her friends over.

The fear of thunder though I would leave at the moment. Generally as long as it doesn't affect your day to day life (which if she is afraid of the dark that is affecting day to day life so can be addressed) then acknowledgment and reassurance when there is thunder but generally ignoring it seems to be the best approach.

My dd (similar age) has a fear of a certain group of objects. It is a funny fear, not like thunder which there is at least a remote risk from. Dd's fear is entirely irrational but that is what phobias are. The drs aren't concerned, basically generally it doesn't impact on her day to day life, she is able to look at but can't touch them, but generally it's not the sort of thing that you have to touch if you don't want to. It is an irrational fear, you would probably laugh if I told you but drawing more attention to it risks making the fear worse.

We did have to address one of her sister's fears of dogs because she started running into the road to avoid them - that does impact on daily life. This is a prime age for fears as they realise that they cannot be protected from all the bad things in the world, they project some of that fear onto one thing that they can manage more easily. If you take away one fear they might fix their anxiety on something else. When we worked on the fear of dogs a fear of lifts emerged. A fear of lifts, unless you live/ work on the 25th floor, tends to just make you fit. The tallest structure she usually would go to has three floors so we just use stairs/escalators. Most people naturally grow out of their fears but unless it threatens their daily life/ well being - like the dogs, you risk that fear being transferred to something else less convenient.

WanderingTrolley1 Fri 16-Sep-16 06:38:45


Idefix Fri 16-Sep-16 06:40:23

I have found there is not much to do for irrational fears dd is scared of wasps and bees apart from not belittling the sufferer.

Wrt to the water/cold thing that would not stand in our house, regardless of whether child is an insomniac ds now 17 has never slept through a night and with out melatonin would spend the first part of the night trying to drop off. Your dd needs to develop some independent living skills.

I think you are in a hard place wrt your dm but on the bright side your dd should be capable of spending time alone once she is more independent.

heron98 Fri 16-Sep-16 06:41:12

I'm 35 and a little bit scared of thunder. But yes, I do agree she needs to learn to manage these fears at her age.

wheresthel1ght Fri 16-Sep-16 06:53:53

I am 36 and terrified of lightening - genuine reason after it was hitting the ground at playtime when I was about 10 and the school dinner ladies forbade is to go inside because it wasn't raining heavily. It was hitting the ground a matter of meters from our feet and all they did was tell us not to play near the trees. So for being cross at her being scared YABVVVVU

As for the not sleeping through and your mother - you need to bio that now. At 12 by next summer she will be 13 and able to stay at home alone so you won't need child care so stop allowing your mother the power.

Rosamund1 Fri 16-Sep-16 07:53:33

Thanks for all the answers. It was not so much the being scared that annoyed me but the whining and crying . (That's for another thread).

She wanted to get in our bed and when we said no she did that tantrum sort of crying for about 40 min then back to bed. She does it when we say 'you have to practice piano' tidy you room etc. We have a blanket policy that if you whine for something you don't get it, if you whine and cry because you don't want to do something you still have to do it. At grandmas house whining and crying are rewarded and my mum will even tell ME off in front of her saying 'oh, just let her watch one more episode, don't be so cruel to her'.

Thinking about it though I have rewarded that crying when I bought her expensive trainers she did not need, I can't afford because she would not stop whining about it.

Vlier Fri 16-Sep-16 08:05:28

At 12 she can sleep in her own bed, get her own drink and fetch an extra blanket.

The thunder thing might be more difficult. My mum was very very much afraid of thunder and lightning. Stormy nights would go like this:
DB slept through everything.
Mum would be in the bathroom sobbing with fear.
Dad would set up camera to capture the beauty of storm and lightning while explaining to me how everything worked.

It helped, I am not afraid unless outside and lightning very closebt. Maybe some positiveexplanation of natures forces would make it a bit easier to deal with? Thunder is just clouds bumping into eachother basically.

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