After the recent storms and tragedies in Oklahoma I thought it would be a good idea to write a blog about my experiences with Ms. E and her horrible fear of storms. When Ms E was just 4 years old she went to school, after a very active evening of weather activity both here in Wichita Falls but mainly in OKC, and told her friends that her father and grandfather had been killed in a tornado. Ms. E's teacher promptly called me to check on our family. You see Ms E was a model student. She never got in trouble or caused a problem and she surely didn't ever lie. I was at a total loss. Why in the world would she have made something like this up. I jumped in the car and went to pick her up and try to find out what was going on.
At first I scolded her for making something up. But then she looked up at me and said "well mommy that could have happened...couldn't it have?" I was shocked. She had listened to all the news reports and alerts the night before when I didn't think she was paying any attention. She new her Big Daddy (grandfather) was at our store in OKC and she hadn't seen her daddy that morning before school. She didn't think that they had died but it was possible...wasn't it?
It was from that point on that we started really being careful with what news she was exposed to. We turned off the Today Show in the mornings when she woke up and we didn't watch the news with her in the room. EVER!!! We discussed with her different types of weather and what precaution we knew to take. We talked and talked and talked...she always had more questions and wanted to re-hash what we had already discussed. Sometimes it was exhausting. I even visited with her pediatrician about the situation. We continued to have issues for several years. Sometimes if the weather was really bad I would be called to go and pick her up from school because she was so scared. She would just repeat over and over...there isn't going to be a tornado....there isn't going to be a tornado. How could this child who had never even been through a traumatic event like that be so affected by it. Well she was...this was a REAL fear and it took years for it to subside.
Now Ms E is 9 and just finished the 3rd grade. I was very concerned that the recent weather events would dig back up all that fear, but we were lucky. Yes she had questions and I did prepare her teachers but all in all she did great. We have talked about it more than normal in the last few weeks but she isn't having nightmares and we aren't talking it about it for hours on end. I am proud of how far she has come.
I thought I would share some tips with you just in case you are presented with a similar situation with your kiddo's.
Our hearts and prayers go out to the families effected by these tragic events. We pray for a miraculous healing both personal as well as for your communities.