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3 yo really scared of her uncle......how can we handle it?

(18 Posts)
mammabelleboo Sun 19-Oct-08 11:57:04

My dd was 3 yesterday. For the past couple of months she has been scared of dh's brother....she's always been a bit wary of him, but it really kicked off a few months ago when he grabbed her and spun her round whizzy style - he thought she'd enjoy it...how wrong he was!!

It really came to a head yesterday at her birthday party - she was so upset when he came, clinging to me and crying and whenever he came near or tried to talk to her, she'd wrap herself round me for dear life! She will always ask "Will Uncle Simon be there" whenever we are going anywhere and has shown reluctance lately to go to dh's mums as quite often Uncle might have popped it too to see his mum.

It's so upsetting - for her, for her uncle and for us....he loves her to bits and is mortified she's like this with him. He and his family bought her a gorgeous Disney Dressing up dress that must have cost a fortune - and she barely said thank you blush. Although he said he understands, he just feels sad as he wants to sit her on his knee, read her a story and do all the things uncles should be able to do!!

It's really becoming a big deal to her and I don't know how to handle it. Any suggestions?

NotQuiteCockney Sun 19-Oct-08 14:49:52

Hmmm. Does he have a beard? Glasses? Those often set off little kids.

I'd try to get him to take it easy, come over and not hassle her, let her come to him. Maybe play with some of her toys, or soemthing she'd like, and try to lure her over. It has to be on her terms.

My DS2 used to be a bit like this, he never liked people who tried too hard. I just used to say he was like a cat - he preferred people who ignored him. (That wasn't quite true, he just didn't like adults who came on too strong.)

It might not be a bad idea to keep a picture of two of her uncle around for him, too.

CoteDAzur Sun 19-Oct-08 15:05:32

The paranoid weirdo that I am, I would not force the issue and think that there might be a reason (beyond what is known) why she is so scared of him.

jabuti Sun 19-Oct-08 16:43:39

im with cote. but going even further, do you think there is any reason for her to act like that?

jabuti Sun 19-Oct-08 16:46:44

i think what i meant to say is, have you ever asked her the reason why?

slayerette Sun 19-Oct-08 16:52:04

Yes - at 3 she may be able to express at least some of what it is that scares her about him.

imnotmamagbutshelovesme Sun 19-Oct-08 16:53:52

I wouldn't force the issue tbh.

3 year olds feel strongly about things even if they can't verbalise it.

Try and talk to her but you will just have to sit this one out until she is ready.

MadamAnt Sun 19-Oct-08 16:54:17

Cote and jabuti - how depressing to think that way sad Maybe you have your reasons, but I think it's terrible to be so suspicious. Imagine how hurt the uncle would be if he knew what you were thinking!

mammabelleboo - it's probably just a case of waiting for this phase to pass. When she's a bit older she'll probably love her funny uncle. I'm sure he won't take it too personally in the mean time!

CharleeInChains Sun 19-Oct-08 16:54:58

I wouldn't be overly worried about something untoward.

My 2 boys are terrified of my BIL but he does have quite a big beard and a very loud voice.

I'm not sure what to suggest we try to get the ds's around bil as we would normally as to not make an issue of it, we don't purpously keep them away from him iyswim.

jabuti Sun 19-Oct-08 18:03:03

madam, its not terrible really. if anything, its about being aware of things. i dont have any personal story, but im trained in child protection and vulnerable adult protection. when we dont know the full story, its better to be on the safe side. all you can do, anyway, is to observe and ask the child. so no harm to uncle and family.

CoteDAzur Sun 19-Oct-08 18:18:53

MadamAnt - Why would the uncle be oh so hurt if he knew what I was thinking? I wasn't suggesting sexual abuse or anything. (Maybe "you have reasons" to think immediately of that kind of stuff?)

I was thinking more in the line of your garden variety nastiness when nobody is looking - maybe pushed her or raised his voice when nobody was around?

mammabelleboo Sun 19-Oct-08 19:17:02

I am 1000% sure that her uncle never has, never would be nasty to her - never more sure of anything IN MY LIFE!!! So I know I can disregard any posts along those lines - but thank you for the thought, as I know you mean well.

My dd is a very sensitive child - when prompted why she dislikes her uncle she always says "Because Uncle Simon span me round" - knowing her as I do, believe me, this would be enough to make her frightened.

I do agree with all those who suggest to not make a big deal of things - he does try hard every time he sees her to make amends but talking to her, trying to cuddle her (PLEASE don't jump to the wrong conclusions) but to no avail - need to let her go to him and in her own time - this is what I'm going to suggest to him. Thanks for your posts.

TheProvincialLady Sun 19-Oct-08 19:33:17

Yes I agree it would be sensible to let DD recover in her own time. Uncle needs to show your DD that his behaviour is predictable and sensible..and that she has nothing to worry about. If she goes up to him he will speak calmly on her terms and not crowd her and expect things of her.

Friendlypizzaeater Sun 19-Oct-08 19:38:35

My brother was petrified of my dads best friend and would freak out for years - it was because they his dad and BF looked so alike and he hated to see them together. My mum got a photo in a frame of them together and put it in the front room, he gradualy got over it.

hambo Sun 19-Oct-08 19:42:44

My neice was scared of my husband FOR AGES as he literally said 'BOO' in a loud voice to her when she was 2.

It took a while for her to like him but explaining that he was a daddy helped her put him in context, (ie he was Hambo's daddy, not just a scary man).

Poor old Uncle..he will end up being her favourite I hope!

MadamAnt Sun 19-Oct-08 19:47:12

erm Cote - where did I say anything about sexual abuse? hmm Suspicions of "Garden variety" nastiness would be hurtful imo!

NorbertDentressangle Sun 19-Oct-08 19:47:50

My DD was really wary of my brother at around this age but it was simply because he rode a loud motorbike that scared her and the fact he had a beard.

Its a common age to be wary/scared/funny about people for totally random reasons so personally I would expect her to warm to him in time.

gibba8 Sun 19-Oct-08 20:19:56

My neice was went through a stage of being terrified of my husband for no apparant reason. She would go silent whenever he entered the room and hide behind her parents. He never did anything to her. She just seemed to decide over night that she no longer liked him. This went on for about 6 months and then she changed back again and they now have a brilliant relationship. Is it just a stage that your LO is going through?

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