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Great grandson terrified of flying.

(39 Posts)
Tartlet Tue 11-Sep-18 16:46:52

My daughter has asked whether I’d like to go on holiday next year with her and her youngest child. She is hoping that I’ll bring one of her grandchildren, my great grandson, with me.

I’d like to do that but GGS (8) has never flown before and has said he doesn’t want to go if it means going on a plane. He genuinely seems terrified at the prospect. His mum thinks the thought of the holiday will get him on to the plane but his dad thinks he’s likely to refuse to get on the plane at the last minute if we go ahead and book and assume that all will be well. So I’m in a quandary as to what to do.

My daughter wants to book soon to make sure of dates, hotel etc., but I’m worried about making any assumptions about whether GGS will be OK. We’ve been talking to him about flying for several weeks now trying to reassure him but he’s not having any of it.

What I wanted to ask was whether any if you have had similarly terrified children and if do, how you dealt with it. Any suggestions are welcome in case we haven’t thought of them. I have visions of being at the airport with a tearful child who’s refusing to get on the plane - which would be awful for everyone. He’s a sweet natured and biddable boy who’s just not very brave and the last thing I want to do is upset him and/or make his phobia worse.

Luckygirl Tue 11-Sep-18 16:58:09

No terrified GGC here; but one terrified Grandma!! I hate flying!

Bluegal Tue 11-Sep-18 17:00:02

Personally I would defer. What do his parents think? What I would do is wait a couple of years and go on holiday and show him the photos of you having fun in the pool etc. Why do you need to stresshim out just now? Lots of years ahead when he will probably love to go. JMO though

Bluegal Tue 11-Sep-18 17:02:23

Sorry you have said his parents are divided but I still wouldn’t insist he goes

annsixty Tue 11-Sep-18 17:06:11

If his fear is real I also wouldn't book it.
He will build it up in his mind and it will be awful for him I also hate flying and at the moment I am in Ibiza and it is the first time in about 46 years I have flown without taking Valium from my GP.

I can have a G&T. Your child can't.

He needs to be a bit older before trying again.

merlotgran Tue 11-Sep-18 17:11:25

Sorry but the worse thing you can do is keep talking about it. I know exactly how he feels because at his age I had to fly all over the place because my father was in the RAF. I too was terrified but had no choice.

Adults, constantly talking about their flying experiences did not reassure me and I suspect your DGGS would rather have his right arm gnawed off by a rabid dog than get on a 'plane.

Even if you do get him there. The poor kid won't enjoy himself because all he'll be thinking about is having to do it all again.

He may well grow out of his fears as I did but I wouldn't put any child through such a frightening experience just for the sake of a holiday.

SueDonim Tue 11-Sep-18 17:16:05

I really wouldn't book anything just now, you could be wasting your money.

I can't find any 'fear of flying' courses suitable for children younger than 11 but there is an online course that maybe an adult could View then go through again with your GGS.

cornishclio Tue 11-Sep-18 17:41:02

I would not take him until he has flown at least with his parents once. Also talking about it may be aggravating his anxiety. Do a UK holiday or go without him.

Bluegal Tue 11-Sep-18 17:41:03

I am sure that is helpful sueDonim for people that HAVE to fly for whatever reason but in this case it is not a necessity, just a holiday that adults want. I don't think coaxing, in such instances is really necessary.

I know I am of the opinion that children do NOT care where they are on holiday - they just love the attention from their adults!

IF a child has made it abundantly clear he does not WANT to go on a plane and it is not for work reasons, relocation etc then what possible gain is there in taking him? I could see it IF it was his parents and his siblings etc but not with extended family. As much as Grandparents love to take their GC on holiday, surely their happiness must come first?

Tartlet have you considered a holiday in the UK with your daughter, GS and GGS? Might be a good compromise?

TwiceAsNice Tue 11-Sep-18 17:46:47

Or even if you still want to go abroad would he go by ferry or train. Also is it just the mode of travel or is he upset at going without his parents I think 8 is quite young to go with just someone else even if they are extended family.

SueDonim Tue 11-Sep-18 19:05:54

Where did I state it was a necessity, Bluegal. confused I was merely pointing out that help is there, if people wish to avail themselves of it.

Diana54 Tue 11-Sep-18 20:35:12

Is this the " don't like cabbage" thing that children have, that's easily solved but don't like flying is hard these days.
I'd tend to avoid flying holidays for a year or two, then try again, if he still won't leave him behind with a relative, when he realises he is missing out he will change. Especially when a teen because it is not cool to have phobias.

harrigran Tue 11-Sep-18 20:47:17

I wouldn't risk the holiday.
Fear of flying is a real problem for some, my friend is 69 and has never been on a plane and gets upset just talking about it.

Melanieeastanglia Tue 11-Sep-18 21:19:29

I think I'd leave it a couple of years. If he's frightened, he might be better to go with his parents the first time. It's a responsibility taking someone else's child on a plane (even if you are his great grandparent) and a greater responsibility if the child is frightened.

He may feel differently when he is older.

If you were going for some essential reason, like relocation or hospital treatment, I realise he would pretty much have to get on the plane but your circumstances are different.

Tartlet Wed 12-Sep-18 00:57:29

Thank you for all your comments which pretty much echo my own thoughts.

He already comes on holiday with us in the UK and we have a very close relationship with him and the rest of his family. It’s only the mode of travel which is the problem and we know he’d love it once there because he so enjoys spending time with his uncle who’s only a few years older than him. The idea of taking him on the holiday abroad was for his enjoyment rather than the gratification of we adults.

His parents are low income, have two other younger children and are most unlikely to be able to afford a holiday abroad in the forseeable future.

He wants to come on the holiday and has even plotted a route on google earth to show me that I could ‘easily’ drive there!

I don’t think I can risk making any firm plans which include him and will probably drop the subject completely in front of him for a few months and then just gently test the waters again and see if we get the same reaction.

Thank you all.

stella1949 Wed 12-Sep-18 01:40:53

I certainly wouldn't be booking any flights for him. My sister is 76 and she has never flown in her life due to an extreme fear of flying - the idea that she or anyone else should be "encouraged" to fly , just isn't going to happen. You could easily end up with a ruined holiday because of this - go somewhere where you can drive or go by boat, and eveyone will have a good time.

Granarchist Wed 12-Sep-18 09:00:21

has anyone asked him why he is frightened of flying? He is certainly old enough to have the conversation.

B9exchange Wed 12-Sep-18 09:11:32

This might help?
I do think it is important to discuss which bit of the flight is causing the problem, it is fear of the complete unknown, and you can at least try to deal with that.

Take him to an air museum where you can go inside the planes, sit in them and put on a seat belt. Use YouTube videos to familiarise him with exactly what happens going through an airport, take off, inflight meals, landing etc. that might help to identify if there is a specific problem, or if it is just the thought of leaving the ground?

PECS Wed 12-Sep-18 09:22:05

If you really could drive.. then you could probably do a boat/ train option. You don't say where you are potentially going ( sorry if I have missed that info.) so it might be totally out of the question! Meanwhile do see if you can find away of supporting DGGS through his fear via the links others have provided.

JessK Wed 12-Sep-18 10:41:27

Do you live anywhere near an airport so you could go and watch the planes? Sometimes that helps. Also some airlines do a familiarisation for those anti flying. May be worth looking into.

Riverwalk Wed 12-Sep-18 10:56:38

I think you should tell your daughter, his GM, that you're not willing to do this. The child is terrified and the poor little thing is even plotting a driving route as an alternative!

He's obviously worrying and the kindest thing would be for his parents to make it clear that there will be no flying until it's something he wants to do.

Fluffly Wed 12-Sep-18 14:31:45

Go on a cruise they are fabulous for inter generational holidays

Tartlet Wed 12-Sep-18 14:55:49

A family cruise would be beyond our budgets I’m sad to say but thank you for the suggestion which I know is a good one. I enjoy cruises.

I’d hoped that other people might have experienced the same thing with children or grandchildren but it seems not. We’ve no intention of forcing the child to fly or of causing him undue stress by continuing to mention it but it’s a problem that’s new to us. Before this, children and grandchildren have been very happy to fly and been excited by their first flight (if they’ve been old enough to realise that something new was happening) even if a little nervous at take off with some hand holding required.

GGS made me laugh the other day when he and his sister were out in the car with me and, waiting at a busy junction, I said something along the lines of ‘where on Earth are all these cars coming from?’ and he smartly replied ‘they’re coming from Spain. They’re people who don’t like flying’. 🙂

Blinko Wed 12-Sep-18 15:17:10

A friend was afraid of any kind of transportation where she wasn't driving. She was totally unable to travel as a passenger to the point where husband and son would holiday without her. She has found that EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) helps her conquer her fears. She is now able to control her fears and can travel by sea or air. The change in her is amazing.

They do EFT for Children. You can google it. It may help the little chap. Good luck.

Bijou Wed 12-Sep-18 15:49:44

Why is he scared of Flying. It is much safer than driving these days with all these great transport vehicles taking up the roads.
I have no fear of flying and used to go at least four times a year but I don’t like boats! Even ferry crossings were at least two brandies!