I have a parenting conundrum and I would welcome some input on this.
My 3 year old boy appears to have developed a fear or phobia of putting clothes over his head because "it's dark". This is a recent development and it comes and goes but at the moment it's pretty intense and trying to get his pyjama top on last night was a challenge to say the least with him running away, clinging to daddy, hiding behind doors. It's not a tantrum - he is completely petrified with tears streaming down his face. He's a strong, confident boy in many ways but he panics as soon as you go to put a t-shirt over his head and it turns into more of an ordeal because he's pushing it off at the same time. Generally I win the battle because well, we have to leave the house and go to school in the morning but I am conscious that I might be making things worse.
Now he's not scared of the dark. He goes to bed in the dark and has done since birth although recently he has asked for his door to be open a bit and is a little hesitant when going into a dark room but it's mainly clothes over the head that is the issue here. I suppose I could side-step the issue and buy clothes that get buttoned up but I feel that could also make things worse for him as he'll never get used to it.
I've tried to think if something has happened to him to make him react like this but I can't. I wondered if something had happened at school to make him afraid and whether I should approach it with them to see what he's like when getting changed for swimming or PE. At least that might tell me if it's a real fear or something to do with being at home.
I know that many children around this age develop fears and many of them are irrational but how do you deal with these? What is the less damaging approach? Attack it straight on or side step the issue? From reading up on it both approaches can have repercussions so I don't know what to do for the best. I'm sure he will outgrow this but in the meantime we still need to get dressed!
So I guess what I am asking today is what would you do if your child had a fear or phobia, irrational or otherwise? How would you handle it?
love & kissesMrs M x