I've sceared my 3 year old - FamilyEducation
I've sceared my 3 year old
05/22/2008 at 12:48 PM


I don't know how to start this.

I fear that  I might have scared my boy a bit the other day.

I had bought him this new tough spring  jacket which he liked very much.

Needles to say after a while it became, used by a boy as it was a bit filthy. I avoided washing it fore some while I must say, because I was a bit frighten of ruining it.

Well to be short, at the end it was cleere it needed a wash. I ended up tossing it in the sink in the bathroom and washed it by hands. Yes I filled up the sink with water added some detergent and soaked it or tried to soak it, you see those types of jacket specially like this one which is nylonlined when put into soapy water inflate themselves, (anyone else who had forgotten that?) making it almost impossible to get it down into the water. When you have placed it with the outer shield (which was the filthiest)downwards as I did, the lining as you might have guest, will face up and what’s more, blooping up through the suds in air filled pockets, and when you try to push one down another one will emerge immediately accompanied by a rumbling sound. Needless to say it feels a bi weird when you find your self battling with a jacket in the sink that way.

Occupied with this it didn't occur to me that this might be anything else but funny to anyone, I didn't even notice at the beginning that the boy was standing next to me, watching his beloved jacket being submerged into water and its lining emerging through the suds as big shiny grumbling balloons,  suddenly I noticed him, with big open eyes and open mouth. He was standing for some seconds then he almost fled the room.

It took me some seconds to collect my thoughts, and then I run after him, I found him in the hallway underneath a table a bit shaky, poor thing  he also had wet his pants I sat down talking to him, telling him that it was okey and no harm was done to his jacket. I realized that he was needing new pants, and that I had to get him with me to fix that.  I asked him to come with me, but of course he refused. I was standing for some new seconds thinking about what am I going to do about this. I realized that I probably had scared him a bit he is only three and a half years old.

Never the less he was in quick need of new pants, I therefore told him "you are coming with me mister, to see that it's no harm done", then I lifted him up carrying him with me, despite strong protest into the washing room. I first he wouldn't look but when I carried him towards the sink and touched the "lining balloons" myself he loosened a bit, and after a while he agreed to stay within the room and he even laughed a bit of it to. He was watching me and sometimes I put a hand on one balloon and pushed and when the blurp followed by a new balloon come, he yaped an almost jumped and run towards the wall, still he managed to come back  after some convincing talk from me, and after a while it seamed that he actually got familiar with it and managed to see a quite deal of fun with it, to my big relief.

When finished with washing we put it in the washer for the last rinse and a delicates spin cycle, he started "yaping" when it started spinning and was a bit anxious when we opened the lid (so was I but I didn't show it, at least I hope I did hide it so well that he didn't notice it), and I could see that he was a little bit shaky again when I pulled it out.

Even though it in the end was mostly funny he actually refused to be wearing it when it was all dried and clean, he wouldnt evean touch the lining (he was picking a bit on the outer shell though), making me realize that the lining had probably scared him, after a lot of fuzzing he at the end agreed to try to touch it and after a while we got him to try it on, his was a bit shaky and was lokking in the lining the hole time. And so it has remaned, when he gets it on he is looking at, and sometimes picking at the lining almost the hole time if it is open, especially when he was in the car, and now its a week since the wash.

So did I scare him badly? What shall I do about it?  :-\Will it be ok by itself by some time? will it be normalized by itself? Shall I still let him wear it Somebody who have an advice?

I've also have bin thinking that mabye I shoulden't have brought him back to that bath, and I did concider letting him stay, but I didn't him to stay there without beeing changed, and I thougt bringing him witht me wuld make him see that it was no harm done, but was I wrong? In an other way I have bin thinking that if I hadn't brought him into the bath room as I did he might have remained scared where he was, and might be more nervous fore the jacket afterwards and would that have bin any better?

So what do I do, someone who have bin at a similar situation

I think at that age kids sometimes develop an overactive imagination. When your son saw the jacket forming bubbles in the water, his imagination took over and it frightened him.

If he can't articulate exactly why the incident scared him, just let it go, but reassure him that "It's alright--Mommy's here, and you are safe. Nothing will happen to you."

I would just try not to let him dwell on it. If you see him looking at the lining, try distracting him by saying, "Let's go read this story!" or some other activity he likes.

About wearing the jacket, I think I would just say nonchalantly before going out, "Ok, which jacket would you like to wear today?" to see how he acts. If he starts acting afraid of that jacket again, I would just allow him to wear whichever jacket he wanted, so he feels he has some sense of control.

One other thing that might help him is to let him engage in some water play regularly. Kids love it! On a nice weather day, fill a dishpan or some Rubbermaid container with water outside, and give him various toys/objects so he can observe how things act when you put them in water. He can see how things sink or float, and how they move in the water. Give him an empty water bottle and let him hear how air bubbles make it go glug, glugs when you push it down into the water. He may think, hm, that sounds familiar (but I hope this time he won't find it scary!).

In general, if you find he is prone to fears, it could be he would benefit by giving him lots of experiences and exposure to different things which will help him by familiarizing him with the world around him.

I'm sure in time your son will work through it, and be fine. Good luck to you and your son!


When I first read through this post, I thought it was odd that a child wld get frightened by a jacket soaking in soapy water. I thought of the possibility that maybe you're son happened to enter the bathroom to use the potty, saw you in there, and before he cld get to the toilet, had an accident. Then I thought, maybe he hid b/c he was afraid to tell you he had an accident. However, you said your son was still somewhat fearful of the jacket, even after you talked to him and when he went to put it on. So then I thought, ok, maybe he did get startled by this. Does your son often get anxious about things or was this an isolated incident? From what you wrote, it sounds like you are very worried about this. Honestly, if you don't see this fear in your son regularly, I wldn't worry. Like you said, It cld've been the noise from the bubbles, or maybe even the color of the jacket being in the water that scared him. Who knows? In the future, try to remain calm about these situations, as you did here, so as not to instill fear in your child. Also, don't dwell on these things or make a big deal about them. It's good that you found humor in the whole thing though.

To Pokey Hi Thank you for your kind answer, andt for your tips, we'll see if we will try some of them out. The water tips sounds greate. I've seen any thing that might suggest that he is prone to fears before, but then again he is small and haven't been into so many different situations before ither. He's a bit sensitive and reluctant on situations he might not be completely sure of though. Any way thank you for your answer.

TO Concerned Hi Thanks fore your answer, no I've never seen that form of fear in him before, though he might be a litle sensitive fore new situations though and things he doesnt understand though, so I fear that this might in some way have scared him, but in an other way you're probably right, I might exaggerate this a bit, seeing it as worse than it really is, after all the thought of possibly have scared your child that he isn't sure of his jacket aren't good ither. But hopefully it will normalize itself. Thansk for your answer anyway

I thought of something that may be helpful to you in the future. Maybe you can involve your son in different situations (whether he watches you do something or actually helps you do it). Like in the case of the jacket, maybe next time you can tell your son ahead of time that you're going to soak his jacket, then ask him if he'd like to help you. If he doesn't want to take part in anything, don't push it. However, if he shows curiousity and interest, maybe it wld help to get him involved. This way, your son can see first hand that the situation is harmless, and this in turn may help lesson his fear. He may actually enjoy helping you w/ things such as this, and it will give you and him more time together. It can also be used as a learning experience for your son. Hope this helps!

Hi again Concerned, that's an idea, I sort of like the thought, I' ll take it into consideration, thanks again :)