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My 3.1/2 year old has a ballon phobia

(21 Posts)
ianleeder Tue 26-Nov-13 21:24:19

My daughter loved balloons as a baby, she gets really excited chasing and squeezing balloons until the age of 2.1/2. My oldest, age 5 has been invited to a few birthday parties and I always bring my daughter along. She didn't mind the balloons until the bigger kids started popping them which scared the life out of her! She was crying, and refused to go back inside the room. I stayed outside and asked my husband to collect her so I can stay with my son inside. Anyway, since then she's been mentally scared. She refuse to go in McDonald or toy shops as there will be balloons. If we are in the same room with balloons, she will go petrified, shaky, clingy and fusses. I know this is not her fault but I find it very embarrassing as she cannot attend parties, leave quickly from people's houses if there are balloons, she clings on to me and wont relax around balloons. We tried to help her by leaving deflated balloons around the house which she doesn't mind and even pretend to blow one up herself. I even have 2 blown up balloons near the celling but she told us to take it down. We showed funny video clips and cartoon with balloons on 'you tube' which she likes. If there are balloons outdoor she likes them and even touch or stroke it. She hates balloons indoors. I really don't know what to do. We've seen the HV about this and suggested using the techniques I used already but it's not working! Has anyone has this 'ballon' problem?

AnyCrunchyCarrotFucker Tue 26-Nov-13 21:33:17

I'm 35. i am the same - though i don't remember any specific incident.

ianleeder Tue 26-Nov-13 21:39:43

were you always afraid of balloon? Did it prevent you from attending parties as a child? When did it start getting better?

AnyCrunchyCarrotFucker Tue 26-Nov-13 21:44:48

As long as I can remember, yes. But not the silvery helium ones, only the rubbery ones.

Children's parties are still a bit of a trial now. Hate them!

QueenElizabethTheZygon Tue 26-Nov-13 21:51:08

3.5 year olds and younger should be nowhere near balloons. I'm sorry to be the doombearer but if they burst near the child's mouth it can ping back into their mouths and be swallowed, and get stuck in throat, and due to the rubbery nature of balloons, no amount of back slapping etc will shift it. They are SO dangerous, I really wouldn't force the issue of them being scared. Not worth the risk IMO. Surprised your HV didn't mention this.

TodaysAGoodDay Tue 26-Nov-13 22:51:57

I'm 43 and I hate balloons, especially when they're being blown up. I remember the incident that caused my fear, I was about 9 and at a party, we were given balloons and (wait for it!) pins shock and told to pop as many as we could.
It's just something that happens to a lot of people, some of us hate balloons, some fear spiders, some fear the dark, some are terrified of sticky tape, I could go on...
This is something you need to accept, you can't force her to like balloons again, but with any luck it may go away. Or not.

PartyConfused Tue 26-Nov-13 22:58:20

Another one with a balloon phobia! Thought I was tge only one!
I still get really anxious and panicky when I see them. But I can control it. Just. I have to-As a teacher (bloody Science) and a mum I have to jeep the fear under wraps.

But, if I don't have a child audience I will scream the place down. My 4 yr old has seen me scream sad but I never deny her one if she asks.

Funnily enough, I also don't mind the helium foil ones either.

My Dsis used to chase me round the housr with them as a kid. I used run around hysterical. Really not fun.

ianleeder Tue 26-Nov-13 23:17:56

Yes how strange.. My daughter likes the foil one but not the rubber one in McDonald. So the fear of balloons never faded then?

ianleeder Tue 26-Nov-13 23:25:16

Party confused: seems like you are able to control your phobia around balloons, I suppose it got easier now you're older? Did you skip parties to avoid balloons when you were a child?

Helenstar77 Tue 26-Nov-13 23:36:45

Mine started due to a balloon popping near me at age 2. My mum had to arrange with other mums that at parties, balloons were kept out if sight until I was collected early, then the rest of the children could play with them after I was gone. Took till I was in my twenties to feel more comfortable with them. Never really thought about it til now, but I didn't mind helium balloons either, just scared of the rubber ones. I hated fireworks too and had to watch them from inside.

SurvivalOfTheUnfittest Tue 26-Nov-13 23:45:13

I could have written this about my 3.5 year old. Hoping for answers!

ianleeder Wed 27-Nov-13 06:38:12

Thanks for your reply, glad I'm not alone in this. I just feel sorry for my daughter as she can't attend parties and special events. I always feel anxious when I receive birthday invites knowing there will be balloons and especially I don't know them very well to ask them to remove the balloons for her. hmm

BalloonSlayer Wed 27-Nov-13 06:51:09

Sounds like you are doing all the right things and there's not much more you can do.

I think it's a fear a lot of people have. I even started feeling nervous of them myself after a few parties at a friend's house up the road. She always blows up balloons too big, so that the skins are really taut. On our walk home there is a holly bush. 'Nuff said? Put it this way, no matter how good a time my DCs had had at one of her parties one of them was always wailing by the time we got home, 50 yards away!

This nothing to do with my nickname BTW. That is because I am skilled at the stealth execution of the balloons that collect after parties/Christmas.

COCKadoodledooo Wed 27-Nov-13 06:54:21

My ds2 is terrified of buttons, of all things. Cannot for the life of me think of anything that has led to it. We let him avoid them on his own clothing, but will still wear them ourselves (can't afford a whole new wardrobe for one thing, plus dh has to wear a shirt/tie for work). On a bad day he'll refuse to go near us, much less cuddle us, until we've got changed.

He's begun to accept covered buttons, plus the riveted ones you get on jeans etc., so I think it's the holes/thread going into them he doesn't like.

We just try to take his lead really, in the hope that one day he'll get past it. Not sure what will happen when he starts school next September.

Fwiw, I think acknowledging your dd's fear is very real to her and not belittling it is definitely the way to go.

StuckOnARollercoaster Wed 27-Nov-13 07:05:10

I see it relatively frequently amongst adults - I run a training course where one activity we do involves balloons and we have to check if there are any phobics that want to leave the room and skip the exercise. In about 1 out of 3 courses there will be someone so I think fairly common.
When chatting with my phobic attendees it seems to be very similar - it's the rubber balloons and it's the unexpected popping of them. As its something that can be avoided most have just learned to live with it and avoid the situations as adults. As your dd is so little you may need to do that until she is old enough to discuss coping strategies if she wants to go to her friends parties.

ianleeder Wed 27-Nov-13 10:04:00

Thank you for the comments, I guess I have take each day as it comes until she's old enough to understand hmm

TheOneAndOnlyAlpha Wed 27-Nov-13 10:08:57

Another balloon phobic here. I went to a child's party not long ago. It was in a small room, lights were hot, balloons popping all over the shop. And I was squished behind the table and couldn't get out. Oh it was horrific.

I think you'll just have to take it one day at a time.

SilverApples Wed 27-Nov-13 10:14:39

DD is balloon-phobic, she can cope with foil ones.
Balloon modelling makes her nauseous. Blowing up balloons, or having them within a couple of metres makes her flinch. She leaves the room if there are free-range balloons around. Or, as happened in Freshers' week, inflated condoms being used as balloons. smile
She can just about cope with static ones as decorations, high up, she's 22.

PartyConfused Wed 27-Nov-13 20:41:00

Yes, I can control it but it takes A LOT of effort.
My so called best mate asked me to blow up all the balloons on her wedding day! With a helium machine! Thankfully i wasn't the only one asked. I was sweating with fear but I did it! And got a special mention in the speeches blush. She owed me big time.

It didn't stop me going to parties. But I do remember being anxious on the run up to the event. I woukd often leave the room if balloons balloons came out and no way would I partake in a game with them.
Tbh, I was really embarrassed by my phobia and would put the effort into hiding it. But it has never gone away.
My dd has one in her bedroom at the moment leftniver from her bday party. I actually get scared going in there. If I see it when I've forgotten it's there I jump and scream blush.

I too vaguely remember the cause of the phobia. Was about 4 on holiday at butlins or pontins in the arcade. I must have been away from my parents because I remember being on my own and being told off when they found me. An older grouo of boys popped a balloon in my face and laughed their heads off at my reaction. It's one of my earliest memories. My mother swears blind it didn't happen.

Figgygal Wed 27-Nov-13 20:45:49

I'm 32 and same issue hate the buggers will go nowhere near them also can't bare to be in a room with them. Also just standard balloons don't mind foil/helium balloons.

It isn't the noise that bothers me its the unpredictability the pinging of the rubber in all directions I can't bare. Feeling anxious just thinking of them.

I know that doesn't help you and I've no suggestions for you.

Areyoumymummysnet Wed 27-Nov-13 21:44:34

ds 1, now 24 has been shit scared of them since about 2. And clowns. Which made a trip to our local shopping centre fun with balloon selling clowns all over the place. hmm

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