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Very anxious 4 yo DD - does she need help?

(5 Posts)
MrsGravy Thu 27-Aug-09 21:17:45

(Also posted this on another parenting forum - hope that's ok, its gone very quiet over there so not sure I'll get a reply)

Seriously. I'm starting to think there might be something wrong :-(

In the last year or so DD has always been easily 'scared' - she had an obsession with volcanoes and could not be told that we were 100% safe from them. Since then there's been fear of ghosts, monsters, aliens and dinosaurs. For a long while she wouldn't go upstairs or to the loo by herself but she now will not be in a room by herself either. To the point that if I walk out the room and DS follows me she starts screaming hysterically. Any slight noise has her getting twitchy and needs explaining - not that any explanation calms her very well. She wanted to sit on my lap at dinner today because me sitting next to her at the table wasn't enough to stop her feeling scared of noises. She asks me these kinds of questions constantly 'can a dinosaur fit in our house? Is there an alien behind that cupboard? will a bad man come here and eat me?'.

Today it's been even worse as 2 yo DS has now started picking up on it. The pair of them have followed me - right on my heels - all day long. I can't take a step back without falling over them, I can't walk at a normal pace because there's one in front of me. They are both having to sleep with the light on.

What on earth is going on with them? :-( They never watch anything scary or inappropriate, there's nothing worrying going on family wise, although DD starts school next week she's been attending the nursery class there for 18 months and seems very calm about it all.

Help :-( What do I do to help her feel less anxious? It seems so strange that she's like this, she's an otherwise happy girl, fairly chilled out, happy to go off to nursery/other people's houses without me.

kitkatqueen Thu 27-Aug-09 23:49:33

My dd is nearly 4 she is exactly the same with volcanoes etc etc but hasn't got to the point where I can't leave the room.

I don't have any suggestions but you are not the only one.

With the volcanoes, aliens etc I don't push the issue, she will get over it eventually.

ZippysMum Fri 28-Aug-09 04:44:59

Hi Mrs Gravy,
Sorry to hear about your poor DD sad. I don't really have any advice (sorry), but I was wondering -
Since they don't watch anything scary or inappropriate, where is this all coming from? has she met a child at nursery who is exposed to this stuff who is frightening her? have you asked her who has told her stories about ghosts/aliens/nasty people coming to get her? Because it is coming from somewhere - someone has told her about ghosts/aliens - it's not as abstract as just 'monsters'.

Also, my understanding is that children use 'the bogeyman' (whatever that may be to them) as a 'safe' way to explore their real fears about their world (school, separation, death etc). Maybe she is more anxious about being separated from you than she is showing.

Sorry for 4am ramble (can't sleep), and do hope your DD gets through this phase soon! smile

savoycabbage Fri 28-Aug-09 04:58:57

Zippy is right, it does have to be coming from somewhere. Isn't there a volcano on a Dora episode? My dd is almost 6 and she runs out of the room when Swiper the fox appears... There is no way I could let her watch Scooby Doo or anything which children her age do watch. My dd is more scared of 'moral peril' though. She screamed the house down when Lola broke Charlie's rocket grin

MrsGravy Fri 28-Aug-09 11:31:26

Thanks so much for the replies. I'm feeling better after a night's sleep and my fantastic DH keeping the kids out of my hair for a bit this morning!

I will try my best to be calm and reassuring. I've had a chat with her about school and she seems so chilled about it but I'll keep giving her opportunities to talk in case she is more worried than she seems.

She gets 'exposure' to these things in a fairly harmless way; walking past a ghost train, going to a very, very mild dinosaur park, can't remember where she got the volcano fear from but maybe she watched that episode of Dora?!

Thanks again

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