Fearful

My daughter used to be up for just about anything. She went on her first roller coaster ride at two years old (she has always been tall for her age). She used to love playing in the water and getting thrown into the air and doing things that made her heart race. It seems those days are over. The older she gets, the more fearful she becomes. She will hardly go near the water these days. She doesn’t even want to be sprayed. Washing her hair is a nightmare. She doesn’t want to go on rides that she loved two years ago. She refuses to do a lot of things that she used to think were fun. I’m not sure if it’s because she’s older so she’s more aware of the risks and dangers of things, or if it’s something else (the fearfulness started when Monito was born, so maybe that transition started all this?) but it’s gotten to the point where I hardly recognize her. She’s not the daughter I thought I knew, I feel like I’m being reacquainted with her every day. It’s strange and a little disconcerting.

I guess I’m just wondering if this is normal. Do four year olds do this? Do they become fearful and then grow out of it? Or is this who she is going to be? I suppose it doesn’t matter. I will admit, I miss the girl she used to be. I’m not quite sure how to handle this new fearful child and there is a part of me that hopes the girl I knew will come back. I know I shouldn’t have those kinds of expectations of my children, and I’m trying to let them go. Oh these kids, they certainly keep us on our toes.

6 responses

  1. My older daughter was 2 when her sister was born, and suddenly she became fearful of all loud (or loud to her) noises. G*d forbid the air conditioner come on, or the ice cream truck drive by. Honestly, it was pretty irrational. But we supported her, validated her, reassured her, etc. and almost two years has passed since then. She has largely outgrown her fears of loud noises, although if something is particularly offensive to her she will plug her ears.

    I think it is probably just a phase that your daughter will outgrow. Her world as she knew it has changed recently, and as she realizes that despite the new addition to her family she is still safe, secure, and loved hopefully she will begin to let go of some of these fears.

    • Osita is scared of loud noises now too! She was terrified by the fireworks even though last year she loved it. Man, it makes me sad that this might be about her baby brother’s arrival. It’s been such a hard transition, I had no idea how hard it would be.

  2. Matthew is becoming more fearful as well. He loves the water, but he used to want to swum away from us, jump in from the side into our arms, be dunked, etc. but now he just wants us to hold him at the pool. I’m nervous about swimming lessons starting this week!

    I do think it’s normal. They’re becoming more and more aware of the world around them and the threats to them. I don’t like it either. He has NEVER ridden an amusement park ride and at this rate, it will be years before he does. He won’t even ride the carousel at the zoo! Of course, I tell B that this works in our favor if we want to go to Disneyworld again!

  3. I also vote for just a phase. From what you’ve shared about Osita, she seems so, so strong. Good for you for being cognizant and aware of everything that is going on with her. You are an amazing mom!

  4. I think its a phase, too. Like before they were oblivious, and now they are realizing that their actions can have consequences…bad ones. So they become uniformly scared for a while until they figure out a little better what is and isn’t safe. B, who used to jump right into the water in the pool or ocean got really scared for a while, and eventually told us he didn’t want to drown, and we talked about what he could safely do and what things would be dangerous and he was tentative but not terrified anymore. Both of mine still hate getting their hair or even face washed, so that seems pretty common. They also both cover their ears for noises I can barely register as loud, like the fan in our bathroom, or a toilet flush!

  5. E has always been fearful, so our approach has been to encourage her to try things and then act like it’s not a big deal if she doesn’t. Oh and hair washing is the WORST, isn’t it!? Who knew a little water on your head was such torture!

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