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Child Scared Of Men


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We have a child who has been in our reception class since Sept this year. We have an issue that does not seem to be getting any better-we have a weekly PE lesson from a sports coaching group that is ran by 2 men, however the child is terrified of men. She will not join in the session (for the first term a 'just watching is fine' approach was used). Now the class teacher is being firmer with her and insisting she joins in. The result has been that the child has become so distressed that she has vomited the past 2 sessions. Her family are aware that she has a fear of men and as far as we are aware there are no Child protection issues/concerns. I have suggested getting the Ed Psych to observe her, however the class teacher is reluctant to do this as the family are heavily involved in the school community and worries this will offend them!?! Any suggestions of strategies to try i've hit a brick wall. Many thanks Jenny

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When you say the family are aware of it, how does she behave around men when her family are around? Is her dad present in the family? What about uncles, brothers, grandads etc? How does she react around them? Is this all men or just strange men?

 

Maybe remind the teacher that actually 6/7 sessions (however many you had last term) is not really a very long time to get a child used to a new experience, especially one who has such a deep ingrained fear of something. Getting her so worked up she vomits is actually just going to make the whole thing worse not better.

 

How worried are the family about it? Presumably they have been told about the vomiting. (If not, they have a right to know!) Maybe they are just waiting for someone to offer help because they don't want to ask. They might actually be grateful for the offer of a physchologist looking at her.

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I would strongly suggest that this little girl should not be made to be in these lessons. This sort of stress is going to have a tremendous effect on her overall wellbeing at school. Forcing a child to participate in an activity when she is so frightened (whatever the reason) will only serve to reinforce her fear. Does it really matter if she spends the whole year sitting watching? If the activites are attractive and her friends are having fun she will join in when she feels ready.

 

I have to say that if my daughter had been made to join in again after she had vomited the first time I would be very angry.

 

I really cannot see what is to be gained by insisting that she participates. It is not as if she will be in a state to learn anything apart from to fear the activity and the people more.

 

I think you are quite right to question this and that this little girl needs someone to speak up for her.

 

I'm sorry if this come across very strongly but it is a subject which is very close to my heart at the moment. I really hope you find a good solution very soon.

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I agree with Upsy Daisy whole heartedly. There is a real fear and it may be psychologically damaging for her, no , WILL be psychologically damagig for her if she is made to join in. Rights of the child? Inclusion? Every Child Matters? If she has such a fear, forcing her to join in could be considered abusive in other situations/circumstances.

:o

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I agree with the last two posts, if it was my child im sorry but i would be kicking off by now to the pushy teacher!! Rights of the child my A*#E !!

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what if the ed psych is a man?

 

Would it help to have a different man at different times? perhaps tiny doses - popping into the classroom with a note for you and saying hi to the class - are there any other male teachers in the school who'd be willing to 'drip feed' men?

 

My sister is a hypnotherapist and life coach, she may have some ideas if you'd like me to ask

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This is not a normal phobia, surely? I personally feel that you have a duty to get to the bottom of it. I'd say you should get the educational psychologist in asap and personally I'd ask your child protection officer to be involved as well. It could be some kind of OCD type issue, which generally responds very well to cognitive behaviour therapy. It's not about offending the family or not, it's about what's right for the child.

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We had a little girl who was frightened of the Junior teacher when she moved on to school - she'd been fine with us and with the men we had in for painting and stuff - it was just this teacher. He was very tall and had a moustache and she was terrified and wouldn't go into assembly when it was his turn.

 

I think fear of men or dogs or spiders or whatever doesn't necessarily stem from any incident that may have occurred - fear doesn't have to be rational after all. I can see both sides of this, and I think I'd be tempted to ask if the family have approached anyone already about it - their health visitor or someone, and just ask if they'd like you to arrange an informal chat with the ed psych.

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Like some others have suggested I wouldn't jump on this as a child protection issue providing there are no other concerns in that direction. Coming into contact with a large, male doctor who gave her one of her immunisations (ie. caused her pain) could have just as easily triggered this fear as anything else.

 

Similarly if this was any other situation where the child was vomiting after being 'forced' to do something the person causing it could be prosecuted for abuse! Perhaps this teacher has a phobia of something? You could approach it in a 'think about how you might feel if you were forced to ...whatever'. If she had a lady forcing her to something she was terrified of every week how would she feel? No doubt she'd stop wanting to turn up to school altogether and be completely traumatised which is exactly how this girl probably feels.

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Poor little soul!

 

As others have said there may be no apparent reason for her fear but being forced to confront it may do permanent damage! Long after she loses her fear of men she'll remember the teacher who forced her to take part in PE lessons xD

 

There is a Bachs Flower Remedy - Mimulus- for "fear of known things" which I gave my daughter when she was 6 and scared of starting with a new teacher (after a very unpleasant experience which led to moving schools)

 

It was recommended by a qualified Bachs practitioner and when used alongside the softly, softly approach mentioned (taking a note to the teacher, spending a few minutes in their company, being asked at the end of the day what she'd enjoyed most) turned things around within half a term.

 

A Year 1 child I care for gets extremely nervous before school assemblies, trips etc and has done since Nursery. She cannot sleep the night before, has stomach ache and feels sick on the day etc. Her Mum gave her Mimulus drops for 4 days before last Friday's assembly and she was a different child - went to bed as normal the night before, stood on stage with a big smile and spoke out loud and proud! Mum couldn't believe the difference and the only thing she'd done differently was the drops :o

 

If the parents of your child are anxious and keen to resolve this situation perhaps they'd be willing to try alternative therapies?

 

Nona

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This is not a normal phobia, surely?

 

My niece and nephew have a fear of men as well- due to parents spliting up and not getting along.... long story- but their dather- finds it hard to interact and accept them and this in term has made them fearful of men... it has taken a long time for them to be around even male family members without being scared. I would take a slow approach to this with the little girl- is it possible for the instructor to spend a little time in the child classroom doing anyrhing so the little giorl is just used to him being around- before joining in lessons with him?

 

L

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thank you so much for all your replies and suggestions-you thoughts echo mine, i just needed to hear it from some other practitioners. I will chat to the class teacher and let you know how I get on and more importantly how the child gets on :o

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I think there will be quite a few of us keen to hear how you get on Jenny.

 

Good luck with tackling this issue. It isn't always easy to stand up for what's right in this sort of situation so well done for being willing to have a go on this little girl's behalf.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Same here, I was thinking about this child just the other day and wondering how she was getting on. Would be lovely to hear how things are going.

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