Am I Ruining My Kid?

A Frightened Child

How one mom is helping her son overcome the fear of thunderstorms

He actually outgrew his indoor fear of storms, but when summer came around along with more storms, he was scared again, but this time only when he was outside. This seemed like an improvement until he started having near panic attacks when any sort of gray cloud appeared in the sky, even if the sun still happened to be shining.

But then it started affecting his sisters. Once, it required an emergency turnaround from the highly anticipated pool visit because of an innocent passing cloud. The girls were visibly upset with him, and he was devastatingly apologetic after the fact. But after that, we took the recommendation of a friend (and therapist) to get him some help. We figured that it couldn’t hurt if it would help him enjoy being outside again, especially since he was starting school soon. Plus, it was starting to affect his sleep, with hourly early morning visits, his fear quelled only by getting in bed with us.

After a lengthy discussion with that same friend, we sought out a cognitive behavioral therapist, mostly because this type of approach has a fantastic track record with anxiety of all kinds. However, we quickly learned that finding a therapist for a young child, let alone a cognitive behavioral therapist, was pretty challenging. We finally found someone who was willing to take a young child, but she didn’t take our insurance.

Instead of spending more time and energy searching for someone from an insurance directory who may or may not connect with our son, we decided to spend the money on the therapist who came highly recommended, with the hope that we wouldn’t have to dip into his college fund to pay for her services.

We knew we had made the right decision when we told him that we would be taking him to someone who could help him and his eyes brightened. “I don’t want to be afraid of the rain anymore, mommy” he told me. And every day, he asked me when we’d be going to see “The Weather Lady” as he called her, staring at the family calendar in our kitchen.

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