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Grandparenting

Scared grandaughter

(35 Posts)
supernanauna1 Sat 08-Sep-18 10:44:45

My granddaughter has just turned five. Very confident, sure of herself - knows everything about everything!

For the past month, she has become frightened of being in any room in the house on her own. I even have to go to the bathroom with her! She just says she's scared.

Does anybody know how long this is likely to go on? I hate to see her in a panic and it's a pain in the butt for me - I can't even visit the bathroom without her. She won't even go to the toilet in school unless other children are going too.

She has lived with me - with her dad - for over 18 months and has never shown this type of behaviour before. As I said, she is a very confident child in all other areas.

shysal Sat 08-Sep-18 10:52:12

Could you ask her if there is anything that would send away the 'frightening thing', such as a particular colour? When my DD1 went through a similar phase we reached a solution with her by adding purple (her favourite colour) paint or stickers. She was never scared again! I hope it will be resolved just as easily for you.

Melanieeastanglia Sat 08-Sep-18 11:30:35

This must be very distressing for her and for all of her family.

I am no expert but can only imagine that something specific has frightened her when she has been alone in a room.

It might be something real like a spider or something that would seem silly to an adult.

I do hope everything turns out all right in the end.

lemongrove Sat 08-Sep-18 11:59:34

most young children hate being alone, especially if they rarely are alone.
Has she seen a scary picture of something, or a movie, it's surprising what scares children.
She is not likely to be like this at age 12 so do not worry unduly.

DoraMarr Sat 08-Sep-18 12:05:06

No- one knows how long this is going to go on, so the best thing is to be calm and loving and just go with her. It is horrible for a child to be scared and not be able to express why. She may have had a bad dream, or heard something, or seen something on television that has frightened her. The point is that this fear is very real to her, and the only thing you can do is to make her feel as secure as possible. Has her father spoken to her teacher? It would be easy for the teacher to discreetly allow her to choose a friend to go with her to the school toilet until she is over this fear. In the meantime don’t be cross with her or say her fears are silly (I’m sure you don’t.)

OldMeg Sat 08-Sep-18 12:39:13

Been through something similar with two grandchildren. Just came out of the blue and went after a while.

Both these GC now they are older have turned out to be very creative and imaginative. I suspect that was what was behind it.

M0nica Sun 09-Sep-18 08:59:34

Did someone physically/sexually abuse her or threaten her and is she afraid they will return and do it again if they find her alone in a room again?

You will need to probe this very carefully because it may be another member of the family or someone close to you and she may have been threatened if she tells anyone and may be too scared to tell you.

pollyperkins Sun 09-Sep-18 09:27:18

At about the same age my daughter became very clingy and followed me everywhere - she panicked if I was in another room. It wasn't that she was scared that anything would happen to her while alone but that she thought I would disappear and not come back (I've asked her about it since ). I've no idea why she thought that. It was very wearing but she grew out of it eventually (after several months I think). This could be something similar, who knows.
My brother as a child was terrified of a painting of a lanscape and my mother had to remove it. As an adult he could remember being scared of it but not why.
It's difficult to know what goes on in children's heads sometimes. My 3 yr old gd sometimes has to have imaginary 'wolves' removed from her bedroom before she will go in.
As a little child I was convinced that a witch lived in a dark corner of the landing that I had to pass on the way from the bathroom to my bedroom.

BlueBelle Sun 09-Sep-18 09:43:33

My son used to have either me or one of his sisters go upstairs with him everytime for a while and it was a mystery until I found out he had watch a Dr Who episode that completely freaked him out
Just to add he is a long distance marathon and Ironman runner now don’t worry too much it’s a phase just go with her and don’t even mention it
Pollyperkins that’s just reminder me I used to have to go past the attic stairs at Nans which had a curtain which didn’t quite come to the floor I always ran asI thought I would see a pair of feet poking out I also used to think something would come up the toilet while I sat on it 😂😂😂

Iam64 Sun 09-Sep-18 10:03:14

children of this age have rich inner lives, imaginations that build all kinds of things. One of mine was convinced that a monster lived in the bedroom cupboard. It was essential that the cupboard doors were firmly closed because then, it would stay put. That child is 34 now and still has a fantastical imagination.

supernanauna1 Sun 09-Sep-18 23:12:26

She has mentioned a cow monster, whatever that is. She usually asks me to go with her - I think because I treat it very casually whereas her dad and granddad make a big deal of it. I think I need to have chat with them!

Her dad was a very unconfident child - very insecure - and followed me everywhere until he was about seven. He's forgotten that, of course!

This only started about a month ago, though she's been here for eighteen months. There certainly hasn't been any ill-treatment or abuse - thanks for that suggestion, M0nica!

Thanks for all the responses - it's nice to know that it will eventually end.

Thanks,
Una.

paddyann Mon 10-Sep-18 01:10:35

lavender dream spray ,use it on her bed and as an air freshener,dont you know that monsters ...of all types ..hate lavender? My GD went through a similar phase and this worked a trat ,the lavender is very calming too which is never a bad thing with a 5 year old.Hopefully your monster hates the same as ours .

OldMeg Mon 10-Sep-18 06:47:36

That is a little known fact paddyann monsters indeed hate lavender

Iam64 Mon 10-Sep-18 08:13:16

Thanks OldMeg, I'll get some lavender to spray on the dogs who go doolally if the invisible monster appears at the window.

BlueBelle Mon 10-Sep-18 08:22:23

She’s probably seen a video or heard a story about a cow monster It ll pass make no fuss at all just go with her when she asks and make sure dad and granddad just make light if it
Two of my grandkids hated spiders and I live in an old Victorian house there would be screams from the loo at times and they would freak each other out so I made them into characters we had Margery in the toilet and she’d had to leave her kids at home and Colin was hanging around the window I d weave stories around they They still as teens both hate spiders but it did stop the hyspsterics at the time

PECS Mon 10-Sep-18 08:55:55

My DGS when about 4/ 5 suddenly became really afraid at bedtime. He was afraid of undefined "monsters". His cousin, DGD1 7 yrs his senior, decided to make a big poster for him saying "No monsters allowed in Stanley's room" & stuck it on his bedroom door. He was fine after that!
If your granddaughter can articulate what her fear is about it is easier to reassure but often they don't know. Build up her confidence by supporting her so far but encouraging her to do the last step on her own and gradually build up where you step back. It is a real balance between feeding her fear by wanting to comfort her and building up confidence and letting her see her fears are unfounded.

Daddima Mon 10-Sep-18 10:03:40

We used to have a cricket club in our village, and one day the Bodach and I were discussing the fact that no local people played cricket, and one of us must have used the word ‘ strangers’.
Son 1 suddenly refused to go out to play, becoming quite distressed if we were going out. It transpired that he had had the ‘ never talk to strangers’ talk at school, and his teacher had possibly been a bit over zealous! So we never know just what’s going on in their wee brains !

TerriBull Mon 10-Sep-18 11:12:11

I clearly remember being under 5 and becoming scared to go up the stairs to bed because I was convinced the shadows on the staircase was a wolf's head, that and the moon was staring at me, just me, no one else! I think a lot of children have an overactive imagination and those fears become very real to them. I'm sure your granddaughter will grow out of this stage op.

Farmnanjulie Mon 10-Sep-18 13:55:28

I have just had a thought! Does she mean the moony cow on the milk advert it's made in a spooky way,with weird music and people saying they have seen it ,and the weird music plays in the background! To a young child I can see that would scare her!
Ask her for she saw it on the TV! At five ,they are full of fears,and don't understand them!
Best with her while she is like this ,she will get better,if she has a favourite toy,take the toy to the toilet at home and say so and so has checked it all out and it's fine!
Talk to her teacher at school they can buddy her up with a more confident child,that can work brilliantly! The more confident child love the fact the are caring for some one else!
At this age things pass quickly!
I taught primary and secondary school for years ,and have seen this before!
Remember to ask me ran out the advert( it's for cravendale milk) that has a cow monster!

Luckygirl Mon 10-Sep-18 14:31:59

Lots of children go through similar phases and come out the other side. One of mine thought there was a monster on the back landing and needed a handhold there for a while. Another stuck to me like a limpet for a while - I later discovered that she had read Charlotte's Web, in which the mother spider dies and it suddenly brought home to her that mothers die.

I think the trick is to take it seriously on one level - because their fear is real - but also to convey the unreality of the thing they fear; e.g. "Yes - I am happy to come with you to the loo (or wherever) but I am sure you know there is no monster in there." - or whatever is appropriate to the situation. That way she has two reassurances: one that you understand her fear and will not make her deal with it alone, but that the thing she fears is not there.

annep Mon 10-Sep-18 20:13:59

Please find a way to cure her of this. I was like this and used to creep into my mum and dad's bed at night for years! I am 67 and still scared. My husband is out at guitar group and when I finish this I will be going upstairs and checking all the bedrooms including inside the wardrobes! And I will hate if I have to go to the loo before he comes home. Laugh but its not funny. Its worth taking time to explore what has caused this and tackle it.

MissAdventure Mon 10-Sep-18 20:26:34

I was scared stiff of monsters, ghosts, and everything that could possibly go bump in the night as a child.
I can remember my mum checking under my bed, and in the wardrobe whilst I lay quaking in bed!
I don't think I ever got cured, as such; I just grew out of it.

trisher Mon 10-Sep-18 20:41:41

Lots of good ideas. Has she got a favourite soft toy? Or one that could replace the adult. You could just take it with both of you to begin with then try to persuade her to go with just the toy

annep Mon 10-Sep-18 20:43:13

I didn't grow out of it. I think it would be good to help her if possible now.

FarNorth Tue 11-Sep-18 06:41:30

After we moved house, my DS told me he'd been a bit worried about seeing the giraffe in the hall at our previous house.
He'd heard us talking about the terrible draught!