Toddler Fears

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Hi, my name is snickollet and I’m a week late with my post because I’ve been too busy swooning over and kissing a boy. Sorry. Kinda. OK, I’m not really sorry at all! Will you forgive me?

I actually had a post in mind for last week and then, well, yes, see above. But since the post was not time-sensitive, it should do for this week. The topic is fear, toddler fear. Not fear of toddlers (although goodness knows there are times when they scare me) but rather fears that toddlers have.

I don’t know about your kids, but mine fear some interesting things. They are scared of dogs (not entirely irrational, except that they have never had a negative interaction with a canine), cats, bugs, butterflies (!), grass (!!), having their toenails cut (!!!), and having their hair cut. The other day, Riley looked at the clock in the playroom—the same clock that has been hanging in the playroom his entire life—became wide-eyed, crept onto my lap, and announced, “I no like that clock, Mama. I scared.” ?????

With the exception of the clock, the common thread that I can find among Maddie and Riley’s fears is a lack of control. They love the idea of dogs and cats, and will enthusiastically wave at them from across the street and even express interest in petting them. But as soon as the animal approaches them rather than vice-versa, it’s all over. The tears pour down and the pitiful cries of, “No doggie hurt Riley! No doggie hurt Maddie!” begin. Same thing with the hair and toenail cutting. They like to cut my hair and toenails, or Elmo’s. But when I wield the scissors or clippers? NO WAY. They’ll walk on grass, but if it brushes into their stroller, unannounced, when out on a walk? Let the panic ensue!

Their fears seem to be contagious; if Riley decides he’s afraid of something, Maddie will inevitably follow suit. I wish it worked the other way: one expresses a fear and the other reassures. Alas, no. I do a lot of reassuring—what else can I do? But it seems to fall mostly on deaf ears. As near as I can tell, I just have to be patient and wait for them to outgrow their unusual (to me) concerns. I’ll admit that it can be frustrating; there are a few friends we can’t visit because Maddie and Riley are so fearful of dogs and there is not a place to secure the dog when we come over. We make do by hosting those folks rather than going to them, but I hope that someday it won’t be an issue.

What unusual things do your toddlers fear? How do you handle it?

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9 thoughts on “Toddler Fears”

  1. Isn’t it odd how they come up with these fears? I find it especially interesting considering we as parently are obviously not teaching this feeling.
    Anyways, my kids fear eery music. We could be watching an episode of Max & Ruby on Noggin and if the music comes up eery (say during Halloween or telling campfire stories) the boys literally run and hide.
    Yet, they are perfectly fine to watch every single Star Wars and Jurassic Park movie. Not scared of Darth Moll (?) or T-rex’s wripping people party parts apart. Go figure!
    We’re still working on getting them to watch Harry Potter but alas……eery music!

  2. One of my twins is afraid of everything, and god help me if dad isn’t around! Bugs, Wind blowing on curtains, Dirty Hands, A cartoon spider, strangers, people coming to the door, loud noises… and the list goes on and on.

  3. My twin girls were gifted a small toy bus that drives itself around. It’s pretty nifty, it gets around obstacles, maneuvers itself out of sticky situations, even reverses when required… all while playing some loud, jazzy music. Both my girls are scared of it.

    Oh, and dogs and cats etc.

    I think it’s non-human things that move autonomously that they don’t like.

  4. My kids are scared, I mean, shrieking and running away screaming NOOOOOO, by TMX Elmo. Or really any toy that moves on it’s own, like a remote control car. But TMX Elmo is like Chucky according to them.

    And the haircut thing was awful here. It’s only been in the past few months that they got reasonably okay, so at about age 3 it eased up.

  5. It’s interesting, because my kiddos are almost diametrically opposed in their fears. J fears water, S adores it. S fears animals and loud noises, J asks for more. The strangest recent one was during a bath, when J decided the chain in the tub, the one that has been there the entire 18 months he has bathed there, was terrifying. Screaming, climbing out, major tears, until I removed it.

  6. Just last night, as Alex told me he was scared of how dark their room was, Nate said, “It’s ok Alex. Don’t be scared.” They’re almost 26 months old. It was so great to hear!

    Alex is afraid of almost anything new. This week I cut my finger and I put a band-aid on it. At bedtime, I was brushing the boys’ teeth. Whenever my band-aid finger got near Alex’s face, he would cringe and yell NO MOMMY! He’s fine with band-aids on himself.

  7. My kids are almost 16 months old, and haven’t demonstrated very many fears yet. I would say they both act shy and a little clingy when I don’t give them enough time to transition to a new situation or object.

    Our main problem right now is night terrors. They are coming way to frequently…only my son gets them, thank goodness!

    It will be really weird when they start becoming fearful. My husband has been terrified of all bugs since he was a young child, and I am horrified by worms/snakes. Anything that crawls on it’s belly freaks me out. I wonder if we will pass these fears on to our kids…

  8. What I love is when they’re all of a sudden afraid of something they used to love.

    I took Primo for a ride on the city bus today as a treat, because we hadn’t done it in a while, and for several blocks he screamed NO QUIERO NO QUIERO NOQUIERO!! It got better, but it never got fun. Sigh.

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