Seven Year Old Has Become Terrified of the Weather

Updated on February 16, 2012
D.J. asks from Amarillo, TX
12 answers

I have an extremely bright seven year old boy who tends to overthink things. Last Fall, a local weatherman came to his school and gave a really cool talk about clouds, temperatures, and of course tornados, thunderstorms, etc. My son came home excited about all he had learned, and even checked out several books from the library on the topic. We didn't think much about it at the time, but started noticing over the next several months that he was becoming more and more aware/worried about changes in the weather. We would see dark clouds and he would start worrying about thunderstorms and tornados. The wind would pick up (VERY common where we live), and he wouldn't want to go outside anymore. This is escalating, and he now seems to be on constant lookout for the next natural disaster. We have shown him radars and forecasts, assured him we will ALWAYS make his safety a priority, and even let him talk to a friend of mine that is a counselor about tips to deal with irrational fears. However, it is very windy today, and he is a basketcase. Anyone have any new ideas? I could really use some advice. Thanks.

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answers from Chicago on

My nephew HAD the same fear - so badly he would give himself diarriah from the stress the second he saw a dark cloud. My sister found a "weather club" for kids online for him to join, so now he is "part of the action" helping to determine what is going on. He is active in the reports and it makes him feel like he is making a difference vs stewing in fear. I think she found it thru

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answers from Kansas City on

Maybe have a weather person, like the one who came to the school, tell your son all the ways to be safe during these weather conditions, or you or someone he will listen to do it over and over so he knows this is what he can do to be safe. I don't know if you are a Christian but we always told our kids that God is in control and all we have to do is know the rules for safety. That's a comfort to me but don't know about your son.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Don't feel bad. My 3yo nephew won't go outside because he is afraid of birds, bugs, leaves, train noises, plane noises, name it....and of course.....cats, dogs, Halloween costumes...if it moves....he is afraid of it.



answers from Minneapolis on

My son is 6 (almost 7) and is the same. Last summer we had lots of tornado's in MN, and the sirens went off a bunch of times, we were in the basement and he freaked out.

Even though it is winter and I've explained that we don't get tornado's in the winter, he's still worried about changes in the weather.

I don't have any advice, but my son is the same.



answers from Minneapolis on

sounds about when kids start thinking about consequences. At 7 years old, I myself, went through almost a phobia about air planes crashing into our home. I didnt sleep for days, and would cry and scream and hide when I saw one. I had never been on one, or learned about it. Just started getting scared of them. It was months of my parents not sleeping and me not sleeping for 3 days and having to be sedated, that started the therapy for me. Later, learning as an adult my mother went through terrible fear of air planes as well. I think I read subtle clues through her, about fear of planes. Might have been so minute, but her breathing and tensing may have intensified my fears. Thats my conclusion. I am not afraid of planes anymore, I fly all over the country and world for that matter NOW. Hated it at first and then it got better.
My oldest, who is 5 now. She also is afraid of weather, but only if its really dark clouds. Wind and thunder do not bother her so much, but odd dark clouds do. She and I witnessed a Tornado form outside our house and had to run for safety. I think that is what makes her afraid.

If it gets to be too much, and interferes in his and your daily life or sleep patterns. Its time to see a therapist to help guide you to do and say the right things to assure him that weather is something to watch and fear at times, but not let it take your life over.



answers from Tyler on

We lived in Wyoming when our eldest daughter was 2 yrs old. When it would warm up, the wind could easily reach 65-75 mph. One day we were walking to the church door, I let go of her hand to open the door. A gust of wind picked her up and blew her across the lawn. One of the men from the church rushed out and grabbed her. After we moved back to TX and from that day on, she was terrified of wind--to the point I had to ask the teachers in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades to let her stay inside on very windy days. That escalated to fear of tornadoes and thunderstorms. I had to "talk" my daughter through these moments. I chose to use it to teach her faith. I would read to her the scriptures that speak of going through the storms, etc. We talked a lot about how God takes care of us and gives us ways to prepare. Worst (or best?) case scenario, we go to heaven. I taught all my children we are here for a while, then we have eternal life. My children are grown now. My eldest still gets a little rattled when there is a tornado warning in her area, but we still talk about how God is always in control. One day my granddaughter said, "I think it would be cool to go to heaven in a tornado!" We all laughed.



answers from Houston on

My daughter is 23 and is still afraid of storms. Unfortunately, our family experienced two tornados so the fear is rather justified. To be honest, I get a little prickly as well. My husband would stand outside to watch!

What we have done with her is to explain and show her that not every storm has tornados. We also make sure in every place she lives that she has a "safe place" to go in case. It does help her and me too! Just keep talking to him about safety and what you would do in case. It helps with the idea that they have some control. Good luck!



answers from Houston on

This is anxiety. He's playing the "what if" game in his head. Make him play it out loud.

"I see that you're getting anxious because the wind is picking up. What are you thinking when you see the wind blowing things around?"
- That it's going to turn into a thunderstorm.
"Does that idea scare you? Why? What do you think a thunderstorm will do?"
- Thunderstorms can create tornados.
"Okay, if the wind turns into a thunderstorm, and if the thunderstorm produces a tornado, what do you think will happen?"
- The house will blow away and you and dad will be killed.
(Here's where you discuss the likelyhood of each of these events happening.)
"If there's a tornado, what can we do to proctect ourselves?"
- He has some knowledge on this, I'm sure. Then, take some steps to prepare for those eventualities. Put a plan into place then and there. He won't remember/care about a plan that's made three months before. He wants to be prepared then.

The other way to handle this, is to actually ask him "what if?" After the first revelation - the wind could turn into a thunderstorm, ask him, "so, what if that happens?" You continue to ask him "So, what if that DID happen" until he's reached his "logical" conclusion. Then you have a discussion about likely that final outcome is.

There used to be "choose your own adventure" books where you chose the next think the main character would do in the story line. Depending on what you chose, you turned to a certain page to continue the story. I think these books are really helpful for kids your son's age to understand that things aren't set in stone, that we do have some control over the outcome of most things - even when we think we don't have any control at all.



answers from Dallas on

My daughter is the same way. She is afraid of bad weather (I read that Magic Tree House book with the tornado in it to her, and then we had unexpected thunderstorms that night. Talk about bad timing! LOL) and also afraid at night. She puts the covers over her head to sleep. I figure it can't be good for her oxygenation. At any rate, my pediatrician gave me a book to read called The Anxiety Cure for Kids. I have been reading it, and it seems highly usable. I haven't started using it yet because I'm not done reading it, but I think it will work, especially for those bright, sensitive kids, like ours, who like to overthink things. =) Good luck!



answers from Dallas on

Oh my goodness poor thing. Being a very bright kid he will over analys stuff more than a normal kid, which makes it hard. My son is very smart and sometimes I wonder where he comes up with the things he says. Being that you live in TX they do torando drills I am sure farily frequently in the schools. My son's school does them once a month. That may just keep it on his mind some too. I know when I moved to TX as a teen I was terrified of them. I still am. That's great you let him talk to your friend. But sounds like you may want to take him to one that specalizes in children (That is if she dosn't). I agree with the other mom that said it's anxiety. When I was scared like that my mom and dad would sit and pray with me and remind me that God was watching over me and would protect me and that they where there. They even let me sleep in the hallway when there were tornados around even after they passes I would not want to leave the hallway so they would let me say.

Good luck and God Bless!


answers from St. Louis on

My 7 y.o. is the exact same way. Every night before he falls asleep he wants to know if it is going to storm. He too learned about weather at school, but they went into depth when he was 5 y.o. and he had been afraid of the weather since.

I totally understand teaching kids about the weather, but I didn't feel it was necessary to go into the depth that they did. It seems that kids can't just be kids with not worries any more these days.



answers from Chicago on

I would say try showing him the weather channel website. He can check the weather forcast for the day (see that their are no storms expected) and feel better. This may be way off...and I know that this is a common fear among some children...however children with OCD tend to obsess about natural disasters/weather etc. Maybe mention it to your pediatrician. What did you friend who is a counselor think about it?

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