DEAR DEIDRE: I’M so scared my eight-year-old girl will get hurt that I still keep a baby gate outside her door.
I’m a single mother aged 30, and I’ve always been quite an anxious person.
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But now I spend every day worrying that my daughter is going to get injured, and visualising terrible accidents that could befall her.
It’s becoming obsessive.
Everything is a potential danger: I picture her falling down the stairs, being run over, cutting off her fingers, slipping over in the bathroom and hitting her head.
When she’s at school I wait by the phone, expecting the call to say she’s been hurt in the playground and is in hospital.
I won’t let her learn to ride a bike because it’s too dangerous.
Friends and family have laughed about the baby gate, and I know it looks ridiculous – but this isn’t funny. It’s taking over my life.
I love my daughter and don’t want to wrap her in cotton wool.
I want her to grow up normal and not become a nervous wreck like me.
How do I keep her safe from the world without going mad with worry?
DEIDRE SAYS: Your feelings are natural – but you have taken them to extremes.
You’re right, if you carry on like this, your daughter will find it hard to navigate the world on her own, or worse, live with the same anxiety.
Children need to learn how to keep themselves safe, even if that means the odd tumble and grazed knee.
I wonder where your fears come from. Did you lose someone in an accident as a child, or witness someone getting hurt?
You need to talk to someone to help you work through your feelings.
My support pack on counselling will tell you how to access this help.
Family Lives (0808 800 2222, familylives.org.uk) can help too.
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