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awomanscorned's avatar

Is my kid's "fear" normal?

Asked by awomanscorned (11259 points ) May 4th, 2011 from iPhone

She freaks out when she sees hairs or “fuzzies”. I’ll hear her scream from another room and I come running and she’s yelling “hair! Hair” it’s kinda funny, but I kinda have a ton of hair, so it’s all over an bound to get on her. I try to make it seem like not a big deal and I just pick it off of her, or off her shirt or wherever, but now it’s fuzzies too. It can be the tiniest bit left over from a dog toy the puppy tore open and baby starts shrieking. How do I get her to calm down?

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33 Answers

CaptainHarley's avatar

That’s a new one on me, but I would imagine the same thing will happen with this as with most childhood “phobias,” it will gradually fade away if no one makes a big to-do about it. : ))

yankeetooter's avatar

I know a high school student who was deathly afraid of cotton balls.

Personally, it does kind of freak me out to remove them from medicine bottles…ewww!

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Well, many fears don’t make sense to us, as adults but are perfectly reasonable to a kid. For the longest time, my oldest was afraid of the fuse box whistle-noise. The only way to solve that was to put a sock on each one and the socks are still there. :)

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crisw's avatar

Sounds like she’s getting a lot of attention for this behavior. That could be contributing to it.

Trojans40's avatar

A personal experience with childhood that was negative or didn’t joy feeling tend to put fear in child as they don’t know a lot about them. It could respent something of her personal growth with values that she is not getting.

Pandora's avatar

Ask her what scares her about it.
My son use to be scared of thunder because of He-Man. I told explained the difference between fake and real and explained that He-Man was fake.
Then I told him that the thunder was just the sound of two clouds hitting each other. (He was only about 3 or so) and it was nothing to be scared of.

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Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

I have to agree with @crisw. These items are harmless, and by knowing that an adult will make the offending object go away is conditioning her phobia. Wouldn’t talking to her calmly and teaching her to remove it herself work?

klutzaroo's avatar

I think you got it right with “fear.” I agree with @crisw as well. She’s getting a LOT of attention from this. While it’ll be really, really hard, try not responding when she’s screeching about hair and just tell her to get it off.

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Nullo's avatar

Probably. When I was about that age, I was deathly afraid of the freight train that ran past the house. I think I thought that it would get me if I didn’t run like mad for the house.

crisw's avatar

Since they won’t hurt her,. my advice would be-
– Don’t let anyone, like relatives, tease her with them.
– When she yells, tell her calmly, once, to deal with it herself. If she keeps yelling, ignore it- but expect an extinction burst!
– When you see her reacting calmly, praise her!

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crisw's avatar

Well, I’ll bet you that if someone told her they were icky and made a fuss about it, and she then acted as if they were icky, made a fuss, and got lots of attention for doing so, I think you’d see the exact same behavior.

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Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Yes, I understand what you are saying, and it sounds as if you know the source of the phobia…the hair on a pacifier. Honestly, how many adults freak out when they find a hair in their food and refuse to eat it, much less discovering one in the midst of chewing?

Spiders are a different matter, and a reaction to them is understandable. And the faster they move, the worse it is. Hair and fuzzies though? As a parent, you need to help her get over this. Imagine how it will impact her once she is old enough to attend school.

And another nod to @crisw for his recommendation of requesting that friends and relatives do not tease her about this. It doesn’t help and may cause resentment in the long run.

creative1's avatar

My three year old gets freaked out one moment about one thing then the next she is fine about it. All I can say is by letting her touch and feel fuzzy soft cute things and see they don’t hurt but feel good, make it a little fun about touching these things. Sometimes this can also be a way of getting a reaction out of you so if she freaks out don’t react to the situation just tell her its ok nothing is hurting her.

Mikewlf337's avatar

You need to find a way to help her face her fear and defeat it. I was afriad of springs when I was a kid.

BhacSsylan's avatar

So, this may get modded for being unhelpful, but this situation reminds me of this. Inasmuch as your daughter reminds me of River, I’d be very afraid :-p

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adventuretime's avatar

@noelleptc you should just be honest with him. tell him that the hair thing freaks out rio and that it would help rio, for him to ignore it or act like its not a big deal. As for the puppy thing just let him know how you would like him to act around your puppy. Maybe that is how he deals with dogs by rough housing.

tranquilsea's avatar

I don’t know if this has been suggested yet but you could try putting hair on yourself and showing her how it is no big deal grabbing and putting it in the garbage. You may have to do it multiple times but that may work.

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BarnacleBill's avatar

The easiest way to manage the hair thing with her dad is to clean the bathroom before he comes over and gives her the bath. Not having the hair in there will take it away as an issue, and it’s something that you can control. Cleaning the bathroom should take 15 – 30 minutes, tops, and will be easier than arguing.

As for the fuzzies on her, what about getting some fluffy pipe cleaners and poms-poms for her to play with – bigger, colorful versions of lint and fuzzies. You could also make a big deal about leaving hair and dryer lint outside in the bushes for mommy birds to make nests with for baby birds.

mazingerz88's avatar

This is quite interesting. I may have something somewhat in common with your 2 year old. My gf sheds like you do @noelleptc to a point of ridiculousness. In 24 hours our rented place will have her hair strewn on the floor. In 48 hours, if neither of us collected, they will be almost everywhere, in the food, the bathroom ( like the beginnings of an alien creature grossly clumping and wet ), the living room, the bed and worse while on a bathroom break at work, I’ll find her hairs in my crotch!
I guess what I may have in common with your kid is that we both find it gross that hair which should stay in the head, keeps showing up everywhere! No, no, no, no not in my tomato soup!

cheebdragon's avatar

It’s certainly different, but I don’t think it’s abnormal persay, I have trypophobia (“an intense or irrational fear of holes and clusters”. for example, the center of a sunflower freaks me the fuck out), I think fears or phobias are actually quite common. You might want to work with her so that it doesn’t become debilitating to her later in life, hair is just unavoidable, so she will need to get use to it somehow….

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6rant6's avatar

Does she brush the dog? That might help her approach the fear and get over it or at least to put it in perspective.The dog will like it too.

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6rant6's avatar

Maybe brush the dog with her and save all the fur in a bag. Tell her when you have enough, you’re going to knit a new dog.

LoboDelMar15's avatar

I like 6rant6’s idea you should go with it!

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