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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My son is 23 months old. My husband is a horse vet and occasionally, we find ourself hanging around the barn/hospital. One day, one of the workers was driving a tractor, which ds found to be the most exciting event he had seen all week, so we hung around to watch. The worker pulled over and asked ds if he's like to see the wheels or the levers or whatever. Ds looked up, thought a minute, and burst into hyterical tears and wanted to be picked up. This is VERY unlike him. He has never been afraid of anyone before (maybe a little hesitant, but warms up fast when he gets a smile). I KNOW nothing has happened to him, with this man or any other (I am a SAHM. I am with him ALL THE TIME. We have never left him with a babysitter-except my mom once when I went to the dentist, he has never shown any other signs of being afraid or distraught. I know this child in-and-out and can account for every minute of his life and this fear is out of the blue. This is TOTALLY RANDOM). Now, he is terrified of this worker. If we happen to glimpse him, ds starts crying and saying "Bye Bye!" and running to the door. I don't force anything, and the worker is nice about it, but the situation is a bit concerning and a touch embarassing. The best that I can come up with is that the worker was wearing sunglasses, a cowboy hat and has a mustache, which I know can be a bit scary for a toddler, but ds has never shown any fear of these things before, though he has not seen them all on the same person. Anyone else have a toddler who has a random fear of a person and/or suggestions as to why this is happening and what to do about it?
 

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It sounds like the worker may just have looked scary, and now your son associates him with the scary memory.

My DD became terrified of her uncle one day, for no apparent reason. What helped was mostly time. We let her see her uncle on her own terms - like when he pretended to sleep so she was willing to come in the room, or from a distance. Eventually she seemed to forget why she was scared of him, and is much more accepting of him now. Like with your son, there was no real reason. The closest I can come to understanding it is that her cousins were excited about 'Daddy' coming home and she freaked when the man who came in wasn't her father. Letting her leave the situation when she was uncomfortable, and seeing her uncle in small doses really did help.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by BurgundyElephant
Kids may pick up vibes that we can't (or don't think about.) Respect his judgment.
I agree
 

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Our daughter does this. It's totally random. For awhile she freaked whenever she saw someone with facial hair. Then that was okay. Yesterday we had a man come and tell us about windows for our house and DD was ALL OVER HIM! It was really strange for our DD who is typically stranger shy. She was calling him guy (I think I told her the window guy was here when he first came) and then this morning DD woke up, pointed downstairs and said GUY!

A couple of weeks ago we went to pick up some stuff from a friend and meet her boyfriend who was visiting from the Phillipines. We had to take our DD out of the apartment she was crying so much. It was totally random. We'd never seen or met him before.

Anyway all that to say that Toddlers are strange and lovable beings and sometimes they have weird, random fears. You know that your child is safe and hasn't been hurt. Our DD will loosen up with 'strangers' after she's known them for awhile and I bet your son will relax more around him (though he'll probably stay pretty close) I think you're doing all you can.

I hear you on the embarassment factor.
 

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When my grandfather shaved his santa beard (I was 2.5) I cried, and then refused to look at him until it had grown back. I would stand with my back to him if I wanted to say anything. Also my sisters and I as little kids were all extremely afraid of my one uncle, we'd cry if he held us or looked at us. I grew out of it, as an adult I can see he's a real sweetheart and I love him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by BurgundyElephant
Respect his judgment.
I do. I don't force it and I don't belittle or down-play the fear. It is real to him, though I don't know why it's happening. Mostly, at the moment, I just try to discretely avoid the barn worker (he's not family or anyone very involved in our lives, just one of those people who we run into every once in a while when we visit my husband's work). Just curious as to where this is all coming from...
 

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Maybe the idea of getting on the tractor really freaked him out, & now he is afraid that the same man will ask him again??
 

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My ds was quite afraid of my sister's husband a few months ago. (We recently moved back to where my family is, so he hadn't really seen him since he was a little baby probably.) I figure it was the bushy beard. All I know is he cried when he saw him and clung to me. I suppose the facial hair was a scary, different look to ds. These days he still shies away from his uncle, but doesn't cry anymore.
 

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My cousin's dd went through a phase where she was terrified of tall, large men with facial hair and/or hats/sunglasses. This included my dad, one of her grandpas, as well as random people she would see out and about. Anytime she would see my dad, who looks like Santa Claus, is gentle as a lamb, and is generally a hit with all kids, she would go into hysterics. She did outgrow this, however, and if fine around them now.

Kristen
 
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