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Phobia of overflowing water

(17 Posts)
kinglott Thu 16-Mar-17 18:42:49

Hi there,

My 5yo daughter has suddenly developed a fear of overflowing water. She does not want to be anywhere near the bathroom if the taps are running, and will not flush the toilet. If she can hear a bath running in the distance, she sometimes rushes inside and turns off the taps. She gets very distressed over it. She's only been like this for the past few months, but it's getting worrying. I can't think of anything that could have caused it.

It seems her fear is to do with the water overflowing, rather than of water (she will happily get in the bath) but she's not afraid of water say running from a jug into a glass. Any ideas of what to do?

Kind regards,


Comealongpond89 Thu 16-Mar-17 18:49:43

Oh poor thing! Not reply sure how to help this but how is she if she turns on the taps herself? Maybe watching and seeing that it doesn't overflow could help. Maybe she had a bad dream about it. Is she at school? Maybe there was No incident where she left a tap running and got in trouble or someone else did. Have you asked her why she doesn't like it? Hopefully it's just a phase and she'll move on from it soon

Comealongpond89 Thu 16-Mar-17 18:50:29

*really sure

*an incident

kinglott Thu 16-Mar-17 18:56:18

Yeah we asked her, but she doesn't tell us, or she doesn't know. I tried bringing her to the bathroom and showing her that they wont overflow, explaining about the overflow holes in the sink and bath. I like the suggestion of getting her to turn them on herself. I may show her inside the cistern while it's draining to show her that the toilet wont overflow.

kinglott Thu 16-Mar-17 19:02:17

Just tried both, but she was too scared. She wouldn't turn on the taps, and looked inside the cistern, but was very eager to get away.

SueGeneris Thu 16-Mar-17 19:08:01

I'm not sure I have any advice but I had an almost identical phobia as a child although mine was more to do with a fear of high cisterned toilets overflowing. I was also quite fearful of anything to do with water and machinery- afraid of the water tank in the loft, the grilled in the swimming pool. I would have been afraid to look inside a cistern but it would have helped to understand how they worked - these days I would show my child diagrams or pre vetted YouTube videos. (If there are any!) She's lucky you are so understanding.

SueGeneris Thu 16-Mar-17 19:08:54

*grilles in the swimming pool, ie where the water comes in

kinglott Thu 16-Mar-17 19:40:02

Yeah my first thought was Youtube, but I've searched Youtube for videos of overflowing bathtubs and sinks to show her that it doesn't matter if it overflows, but strangely didn't find much.

She used to have a fear of dogs, but we managed to get her over it when we spent a week at her granny's house who has a small dog. I'm hoping there's a way we can help her get over this one now!

How did you get over your fear? Or was it just something that happened as you got older?

SueGeneris Thu 16-Mar-17 19:44:07

I mostly outgrew my fear although still not keen on swimming pool grilles tbh!! Can you show her by pouring water from a jug down through the sink overflow? I suspect she may just outgrow it as she realises sinks and baths probably aren't going to overflow- but I think to a 5 year old mind it's probably hard to get past the scary mental image. I'd just promise her you won't let the sink overflow.

SueGeneris Thu 16-Mar-17 19:47:29

Maybe give her charge of turning the taps on for bath and off - obviously with you saying when is the right time to turn them off so you have just the right amount, not too much, not too little. Can you stick a stick on toy in the bath where the bath water level needs to reach ? Just to help her feel she does have control over it and learn to judge how much etc - so she can watch the water fill to that level and then turn it off.

kinglott Thu 16-Mar-17 19:52:53

Great idea! I'm going to give it a go.

shewolfmum Thu 16-Mar-17 22:55:25

Yes we have this...from overflowing toilet at nursery. Now worried about really is a stress for her. Took a while but will now do taps and flush herself...we just went gently but she does still freak out quite often.

shewolfmum Thu 16-Mar-17 22:55:38

Ps she is nearly 5

Fozzleyplum Thu 16-Mar-17 23:00:44

When I was about 4, I was very disturbed by the thought that the washing machine might keep filling, and eventually flood. I can remember being at school and worrying that my mother might be at home, helpless, whilst the washing machine pumped out rivers of water.

I was "cured" when my mum explained how the machine worked and that it could not overfill to that extent - and that it wouldn't drown anyone even if it did.

Daffodils07 Fri 17-Mar-17 11:04:41

My 16 year old had the same thing (at 5) form a bath that overflowed.
The school helped us loads as he was even scared of drinking incase it came out the cup.
It did take a while but after a few months he did get over it.
It's about explaining (over and over) obviously very gently.
And building up to playing with plastic cups in water and letting the water go over.
It's reassuring her that overflowing will not hurt her or anyone and it's nothing to be scared or worried about.
Poor love I do remember how scared my son was.

E2609 Mon 29-Jan-18 00:00:16

Hi, I know this post was posted awhile ago but I just had to reply. I too had this phobia and still have it today- it's just that it's transpired into a fear of the depth of water- the sea, deep pools etc. It started around your daughters age in the form of fear of overflowing toilets and baths- toilets and baths going over their depth. It might be that your little girl will eventually be scared of this too as this is where my fear began. Showing her how the toilet works etc could potentially work. Hope this helps

Pinkbedsheets Mon 29-Jan-18 00:06:00

Maybe it came from a programme she watched ? A cartoon ?

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