My oldest son has developed a seemingly irrational fear of thunderstorms. True, we’ve had our share recently. Already, it’s been an unusually active season, and summer just started. But still, we’re not even talking dark clouds and high winds–no, from the moment he gets up in the morning, he’s peering at the sky and if there’s a hint of even puffy white clouds up there, he heads for weatherchannel.com.
In my infinite parental wisdom, I’ve decided that I have no blame here. No, I blame school. I blame those snotty little five year olds who come on the P.A. system every morning and tell the rest of the student body what the weather is going to be. And then I blame the school system for too many dad-blamed storm drills. A couple of times this past school year, by the time he got off the bus in the afternoon, storms or no, he was already wild-eyed and near tears over the fact that there was a ‘chance’ of evening thunderstorms.
Now this goes hand in hand with another fear that seems to have come out of nowhere…and that being, that we’re going to leave him alone. I can’t tell you how many times in the past six months I’ve had to answer, “Where’s mommy?” or “Where are you going?” And heaven forbid, when you drop him off at the kids’ play area at the gym while you work out, that you’re even a minute later than you told him you’d be–NIAGARA FALLS!
OK, maybe I share a little of the blame here–but indirectly. As a child I was also a bit of a worry-er. But the things I worried about were just a tad more serious that this stuff. And by serious, I mean like, “Oh crap, what now?” kind of stuff.
But I didn’t worry about the weather.
In retrospect, I suppose if he’s going to be worried about something, it could be worse. But we’ve tried reassurance; we tried fussing at him; nothing seems to work. And while I know that mostly he’ll grow out of it, I know I still carry some of my childhood worries with me today. Even now, when I hear footsteps above me in the house coming towards me, for just a second, my gut clenches up and my heart jumps ahead. I wish I knew how to take these fears away from him.
Hmm, I’m sure I’m the first parent to have ever said THAT.
3 thoughts on “Blame it on tha rain’…(it was fallin’ fallin’…)”
I’m so glad you are writing again. My daughter has been a fearful child under circumstances nearly ideal, at least compared to most. Two doting parents and three brothers so much older she’s never even had to share. When she was in school any loud noise, even a band concert, found her crying and holding the teachers hand. I began carrying ear plugs. We ended up homeschooling in part for this reason. She is twice the size of many girls her age and always was this way. I can be impatient with what seems ridiculous to me, going so far as to tell her my own father was long deceased by her age. As you can imagine, not helpful at all lol. They really do come to us as individual people with their own issues we didn’t necessarily help to create. I have had to learn to remember my children are not me and I’m supposed to assist them but can’t make them do or believe ANYthing. For some reason I find it harder with the same sex child as I identify with her so completely. Your line about hearing footsteps really got me. I think of my brain as a warped racetrack. I can try to avoid the warping but its always there. Maybe you could do something physical with him to release the fear in a positive way? Boxing gloves or a plastic bat and pillow? Do I sound nuts? My son did best with physical release.
Haven’t tried the physical thing Pamajama. However, a couple of weeks ago when I got home from work, it was raining outside–just a nice three hour drizzle. So I went outside and putzed around till CareerMom got home. When the boys saw me out there with their bat and ball, they immediately wanted to play. So we did. We played in the rain for at least and hour and for that hour, he was perfectly fine. I will say that I think his fear has now gone from irrational “OHMYGODIT’SGONNARAIN!” to rather, “Rain is OK, but it’s thunder that scares me.”
So, baby stepping I guess here.
Why not build upon this towards a positive means…
Are there “Young scientist” meteorology classes, documentaries, or kits. Maybe take a “SkyWarn” class with him. Let him see how many folks have a interest in the weather, and how much fun weather can be!
Who knows – it may lead to a future career!