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help - all you Mums of emotionally sensitive children DD 20m is hysterical

(19 Posts)
CrushWithEyeliner Sun 10-Aug-08 12:18:57

My StepSon is staying for a few days and she is petrified of him. From what I have seen he has been sweet with her since she was born although not really interactive (he is 17). She has always been a bit wary but this time she is screaming until she is blue, holding her breath shaking in fear. I have not seen anything like this with her in my life. We have tried cooling off, talking amongst ourselves but she is the same every time he comes into the room.It is a bit upsetting for us all as you can imagine but mostly for her. I have a big family day and she is clinging to me for dear life until I have to leave the room. Please help me what can I do to help this situation?????

duomonstermum Sun 10-Aug-08 12:32:04

what is she like with other people? my DD is around the same age and she does this with one of my friends. we used to try and console her but we needed my friend to keep her for a few days and we knew it wouldn't work if she was screaming all the time. we started off by going out of the room and leaving her with L for 5mins, then 15mins etc. she started to settle once she realised we were coming back. we gradually built it up to an evening and were able to go away for a weekend.

CrushWithEyeliner Sun 10-Aug-08 12:47:42

oh gosh I couldn't leave her in the room with him at all I can't even be in the same room as him sad

CrushWithEyeliner Sun 10-Aug-08 12:48:05

she is fine with other people

duomonstermum Sun 10-Aug-08 12:50:25

why can you not be in the same room as him? maybe she's picking up your anxiety??

CrushWithEyeliner Sun 10-Aug-08 12:55:21

hmm of course I can be in the same room as him he grew up with us. DD is 20m and he has only seen her a few times as he moved away with his Mother before she was born. I mean I cannot stay in the room when he is there as she is hysterical.

blueshoes Sun 10-Aug-08 13:07:24

My dd did this when my father (who lives 1000s of miles across the seas away) came to visit for the first time. I think she was younger than 20m although I cannot remember the exact age. It was most embarrassing. I hoped she would get used to him over the 4 days he was here, but she never did despite our gentle efforts. My father who is of that older generation is also not terribly interactive with children.

Like you describe, dd was hysterical, apoplectic, inconsolable.

There is the possibility that you cannot do anything about it. The only comfort is that your dd will grow out of it and one day not even recall that she was ever afraid of her stepbrother. A 20m old is not a rational creature sadly.

blueshoes Sun 10-Aug-08 13:09:14

A long shot, does your stepson have a moustache or facial hair - that would make him a hairy 17 year old. Some children don't like that.

duomonstermum Sun 10-Aug-08 13:09:27

oh that's what you meantblush would it be so bad to try and leave her with him for a few minutes at a time? i know it's hard when they scream and turn blue etc (DD is master of turing blue/sobbing inconsolably) but as long as he has never done anything to hurt her it might just be that it's because he's unfamiliar? maybe if he was encouraged to do silly stuff like dancing to igglepiggle or even some of the music channels to distract her?

duomonstermum Sun 10-Aug-08 13:10:57

oh yes, blueshoes, the facial hair thing. forgot about that one.

CrushWithEyeliner Sun 10-Aug-08 13:55:54

Thank you all for your advice - he is rather tall with quite piercing eyes which can be a bit scary. He has tried to dance to incy wincy spider bless him but she just didn't like it. We feel so bad for him and her. I will try to muddle thoruhg sad

duomonstermum Sun 10-Aug-08 14:41:16

ahh if he's quite tall it might help if he tries to stay down at her level. or you could always try and incorporate him into play. eg. lets see where x has tickles. ok lets see where mummy has tickles. where does y have tickles etc i felt sooo silly doing it but it distracted DD and i guess she figured you can't scream and play at the same time. feel sad for him tho. hopefully she'll start to come round.

babyinbelly Sun 10-Aug-08 15:03:33

I know its not the same but my 25m son is scared of my friends cat. The only cat that he doesn't like and he's met loads. I try and ignore his screaming and tell him that he's being silly. I pick the cat up to show that it doesn't hurt mummy but still the screaming continues. He see's it about once a week with no signs of improvement.
My hope is that he will grow out of it and see that it is completely irrational. (the cat has never been nasty). you will probably find the same with you daughter. She will eventually grow out of it/get used to him.
Best advice I can offer is try not to give her attention for acting in this way. This will only reinforce that she is correct in acting as she does and prolong the problem. Instead do something to distract her attention. Ignore her and sit and read a book of hers on your own. hopefully she will be interested in what your doing and forget about crying! (I know it wont be as simple as that but persevere!)
Good luck.

objectivity Sun 10-Aug-08 15:07:37

Could you get him to be in the same room but PREOCCUPIED iyswim??(sorry but my keyboard won't allow me to do itallics!)

Keep having them in the same vicinity as one another but get him not to make eye contact, and ask him to busy himself so she can just observe him. In time sge will become curious (hopefully) and then she will take tentative steps to go to him rather than him trying to inerract with her.

blueshoes Sun 10-Aug-08 16:59:50

Yes, another method, which is a variation of not forcing interaction between your dd and stepson, is to carry and ignore your dd whilst talking casually to your stepson. It might work in a less extreme situation but I accept that if your dd is hysterical and cannot be in the same room that this would be a non-starter.

onwardandupward Sun 10-Aug-08 17:54:37

Does he have a loud, low voice? A loud laugh?

Sometimes men can be frightening because they have boomy voices, especially if a baby's father is quite softly spoken.

Definitely worth just ahving her occupied doing her thing, and him sitting quietly with a newspaper in the background - so she gets used to his presence without being expected to interact with him.

CrushWithEyeliner Mon 11-Aug-08 11:48:30

yes he does oau you are right! and it was when he spoke to her that she seemed most freaked out.

We got through it following your advice it was really tough but I tried to calm her down in the same room- she is so wary of men in general bless her. Thanks again for all your advice. x

scattercushion Mon 11-Aug-08 11:52:04

what about making chocolate crispy cakes with him? Maybe the lure of the choc will induce a sudden burst of courage? grin

CrushWithEyeliner Mon 11-Aug-08 11:58:44

lol will try next time - poor lad!

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