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Frightened 7 year old, how can I help her?

(37 Posts)
pinkmama Tue 07-Jun-05 21:35:09

My dd (7) is on the whole very mature and quite bright. We have been watching Dr Who as a family which she thoroughly enjoyed. however about 3 weeks ago there was an episode which absolutely terrified her. She said nothing at the time. Obviously I feel terrible that I let her watch something that would have such an impact, so please dont shoot me down for that. Since then she has been scared to go anywhere in the house alone at any time of day or night, she is like a limpet. At night she cant go to sleep because she is so scared. Obviously Dr Who is no longer watched, but what else can I do to help her get her courage back. She was never like this before. I really feel for her.

RnB Tue 07-Jun-05 21:36:21

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WigWamBam Tue 07-Jun-05 21:38:55

I think I would go for lots of reassurance that it was just pretend and not real, maybe let her put a teddy bear on "guard duty" outside her bedroom to keep her safe, if she would go for that, but otherwise it'll just take time and lots of patience.

pinkmama Tue 07-Jun-05 21:40:56

I feel a bit guilty really, you spend so much time making them secure and happy in life, and then one daft programme choice and it all goes to pot! Maybe it is a developmental phase, not sure, never had a 7 year old before! Teddy on guard is a good idea though, thanks WWB.

whymummy Tue 07-Jun-05 21:48:36

ds also 7 had a nightmare and was scared to go to sleep i gave him a necklace with an eye that i bought on holiday and the man in the shop told me it would keep bad dreams away(didn't beleived him obviously but i liked it)so i told ds he could have it and it would keep horrible dreams away,he hanged it from his bed and hasn't been scared since.maybe you could try something like that,good luck,hope she's not scared for long

hoxtonchick Tue 07-Jun-05 21:50:41

bloody dr who. we all watch it together too (inc. takeaway pizza ), but i think it's inappropriate for ds (3.4). dp thinks not but i think i might have to put my foot down. i think most of it goes over ds' head, but still.

lots of love to dd, pinkmama. xx

pinkmama Tue 07-Jun-05 21:52:57

Yes HC, its pizza with ours as well! Actually think that ds is oblivious to it tbh. I do think they are too young to notice it. He certainly shows no ill effects of it. Think its dds overactive imagination!

morningpaper Tue 07-Jun-05 21:54:27

Poor lamb! What exactly was it that scared her?

hoxtonchick Tue 07-Jun-05 21:54:44

"mummy, ring the man to bring the pizza now, dr who is almost on"

pinkmama Tue 07-Jun-05 21:58:48

MP - It was the episode set in WW2 with a little boy in a gas mask saying "mummy,mummy", unfortunately she let it slip at school that it frightened her and has been teased by various class mates saying "mummy, mummy" to her! Well it will give her something to talk about in the student union bar in a few years time!

morningpaper Tue 07-Jun-05 22:00:46

Oh that WAS bloody freaky. We had a mother and toddler group today and one small boy kept saying 'mummy mummy' over and over and reminded me of the programme and I blurted out "God your son is like something from a horror film!" which was probably a bit harsh...

pinkmama Tue 07-Jun-05 22:04:29

lol MP

GaylordFocker Tue 07-Jun-05 22:07:23

you could always let her sleep in your bed, our dd does and she's about that age and it makes her feel better, not every night but when she is scared; if you can handle all those arms and legs all over the place.

Orinoco Tue 07-Jun-05 22:08:37

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pinkmama Tue 07-Jun-05 22:09:29

We did that at the weekend GF, I had to get out at some point and go in her bed. Doesnt help that ds climbs in at some point inthe night, with them and my enormous baby bump there is just not the room for a regular sleep in. In fact they both must have come in at some point last night but dh moved rooms! Maybe a good time to buy a SuperKing size bed!

pinkmama Tue 07-Jun-05 22:11:02

Orinoco, we found out too late, but the BBC website has a fear factor rating given by children for each episode. The one that got to dd was a level 5 and classed as terrifying. Prior to thta I think they had ony been about level 2. As I say, we found that out just too late.

roisin Tue 07-Jun-05 22:24:55

That's the episode that scared ds1 too. He's also 8, and chose not to watch the following week. He has been sleeping rather badly since too, but we haven't suffered as much as you have.

Thanks for the fear factor info. I've just been checking it out: I hadn't seen that before either.

He did choose to watch it again this week, and was OK.

roisin Tue 07-Jun-05 22:25:28

He's not 8, he's 7!

aloha Tue 07-Jun-05 22:31:08

Oh, that was terrifying. Really, really spooky. Excellent but for adults IMO.
Ds (3) saw part of one episode with the demon wheelie bins (plastic that came to life) was totally freaked and had a nightmare that night. He's not watched a second of it since.
I love it though and feed dd in front of it with a nice glass of wine.

aloha Tue 07-Jun-05 22:32:07

Oh, that wasnt at all helpful, was it?
Um, keep pointing out that it wasn't real. Also ask her what she thinks will make her feel safer/happier.

grumpymarthamoo Tue 07-Jun-05 22:34:45

That was a scary one - it frightened me!

How about talking to her in a really matter of fact way about the making of the programme? Things like..the little boy who played the boy in the gas mask must have had fun doing that scary voice, musn't he? Do you think he got a bit hot in the gas mask? What do you think his friends at school thought about him being in Doctor Who? You could even extend it to - I bet the actor that played the little boy would be really please to know you found it scary - it would show him what a good actor he was. Stress that Doctor Who is supposed to be scary - it's designed to evoke that response in the viewer and it shows the writers, actors etc. are doing their jobs really well.

I remember when I was a child seeing a programme where a person was sucked down into quicksand and drowned. I was really upset - but I remember my Dad saying - oh, he's gone under there now and he's having a nice cup of tea, thinking "well, that was an easy day's work." Emphasising that it was pretend - that it was actors, with real lives of their own, and special effects etc. really helped.

Bit of a waffle but hope it helps.

jampots Tue 07-Jun-05 22:40:28

pinkmama - i could be your dd! I distinctly remember watching Dr Freaking Who when I was about her age and it was the one where Dr Who pulled his hand out of his pocket and it was covered in green ooze goo stuff. I literally couldnt be in the room with Dr Who at all!! Also used to follow parents/sisters around so I wasnt alone and was generally a terrified child. What didnt help was that no-one took me seriously and poo-pooed my fears/anxiety. In fact my sisters used to tease me. If I woke in the night I would lie there terrified and call out to mum - eventually she would wake and I would feel happier that I wasnt hte only one awake in the house (!?) I guess I just grew out of it which was helped by finding something I could focus on - for me it was crosswords as I would allocate myself say half an hour to finish a crossword.

Now as a parent I make sure I listen and understand any little niggle my children have.

trefusis Tue 07-Jun-05 22:48:50

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ScummyMummy Tue 07-Jun-05 23:09:46

My sons were terrified too. We had to turn it off- it was a big step up from the other episodes in the scary stakes I thought. We've been doing a lot of exaggerated "Phew! Thank goodness that's not in real life!" type stuff ever since. Now they've recovered and are saying "Muumeee! Muuummeee! Are you my muumeee?" to me and their Dad on a regular basis and pissing themselves laughing.

Hope your dd gets over it soon too, pinkmama. Emphasising the pretendiness has worked well for us. Grumpymarthamoo's ideas sound great, as does your dad, moo.

grumpymarthamoo Tue 07-Jun-05 23:12:36

When we were down in Wales last week staying with dh's parents dh put on a gas mask (don't know why they have one, maybe it's a Welsh thing?) and wandered round the house saying "are you my Mummmeeeeeee?" (our two hadn't watched it though so they just looked bemused!)

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