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Your child's name and fear!

I found my 7 year old crying at the bottom of the stairs...

It was bath time and he was watching TV whilst I went to run his bath. I told him I’d call him once it was ready. Bath ready, I turned off the tap and called his name… no answer.

I called his name louder this time, still no answer. I got up from the side of the bath and started to make my way to the stairs, calling his name a third time and that’s when I found him at the bottom of the stairs, crying softly.

Concerned, I ran down to him and held him, asking, “what’s the matter, why are you crying?”. He couldn’t really tell me, he just kept clutching his chest, his crying had turned to sniffling now.

After a little while, with his head on my chest he said, “I was scared”.

I knew not to act surprised at his answer even though I didn’t understand it. So in the same calm voice, I said with genuine curiosity, “tell me why you were scared”.


“I thought you were telling me off, mummy. I thought I did something wrong”. I held him closer and closed my eyes. I knew exactly what I had replicated!

The sound of my name being called loudly still scares me till this day.

I remember once I was in my office and my husband called out my name. I didn’t respond, so he shouted out even louder. What he didn’t know was I was bent over my desk, with my hand on my chest trying to stop my heart from beating out of my chest.

I knew he was probably calling me for a simple reason but that didn’t stop my body from reacting in fear. I eventually walked downstairs and he excitedly said, “I told you, The Blob (in Masked singer) was Lenny Henry, I knew it, I knew it”.


When my name is called loudly my body reacts, first in fear and then in irritation when I remind myself that I’m not in trouble. The sound of my name scares me and that’s what I had replicated in my son. I knew I had to change it!

I helped him up the stairs and into the bath, apologising to him for scaring him. That day, I made intentional changes which have all helped to change his reaction to his name being called by me.

Now even if I do call his name loudly, his automatic reaction is not worry. Hearing his name called no longer causes an involuntary fear reaction.


Does your child’s name scare them?

Do you only call them by their full name when they are in trouble?


It might be time to change that habit!



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