How to help young child with anxiety/fear of fire
October 7, 2013 3:57 PM Subscribe
Precocious 6 y.o. daughter has suddenly developed an intense fear of fire. If the stove is on, she is sobbing or screaming or fretting. Same thing with the (outside) grill and my neighbor's fire pit. Logic, reason, discussion are all fruitless; as long as there is visible fire, she's terrified. How to help her cope?
posted by disconnect to human relations (21 answers total)
About a month ago, she came into the kitchen and noticed the flame on the stove top (same stove we've had since before she was born) and just about had a kitten ("Daddy the fire is too big! It's scaring me!") So yay that she's vocalizing her fears. In response, I picked her up away from the stove and empathized with her fear ("I hear that you're afraid, and it's okay to be afraid"). I pointed out that the fire was away from anything flammable, and it was heating the food, and I could make the flame bigger or smaller as needed. Normally when she's scared of something, she's all over me to pick her up and shield her, but in this case she absolutely doesn't want me to pick her up or put myself between her and the fire or anything other than make the fire go away. She's getting to the point where I'll pick her up at school, and on the way to the car, she'll ask me if I'm cooking anything on the stove at that time. So:
1. What concrete steps can I take to help her with this specific fear? And
2. Is there something bigger-picture that I may be missing?
I can't isolate a specific trigger for this, either. If I knew she'd seen something on TV/youtube or whatever, or even a picture of a house on fire, then I'd feel like I had something to start with. She's in first grade in the same school she went to Kindergarten, so I know she's had fire drills and already discussed fire safety, although I imagine in somewhat more detail than last year.