Childrearing

I Resent My Child For Being Afraid Of Fireworks

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Tonight, in big cities and small towns around the country, parents and children will be cuddling up close and watching exploding colors in the sky. The huge willow-tree-like classics are my personal favorite. Kids will “Oooh” and “Awww” as they point out their favorite colors and marvel at the height and scope of those explosions.

Me, I’ll be inside, cuddling up my little girl, away from all the pretty lights and impressive displays.

I know. I’m a horrible person. Like, a really amazingly awful person right? Who complains about having to cuddle with their child? What kind of mother am I?

But I have to admit, after three years of sitting out on the fireworks because my daughter doesn’t like them, I’m getting just a tad bit resentful. Not really resentful. I’m not going to leave her in bed by herself in her moment of need or anything. But guys, I really want to see the fireworks!

My parents have the best 4th of July set-up imaginable. Their’s a huge fireworks show that can be seen from their backyard. We get to lay in the pool and watch the fireworks crack overhead. It’s just about the most magical thing in the world. It’s relaxing and comfortable, yet exciting all at the same time.

Even more odd about the entire situation, my daughter normally isn’t afraid of anything. We’re talking a girl who wants to fight bad guys, play with snakes and poke at spiders. Aliens? She think they’re funny. Battle scenes? She’ll cheer for the good guys and curse the villains. She’s the child who randomly decides at 3-years-old to drive headfirst off the diving board. She wants to work on a flip now. I do not have a nervous or anxious child!

But fireworks… Why is it that fireworks are the Kryptonite to my little Supergirl? Something that’s so enjoyable and pretty and full of fun.

I know we all have times as parents where we put aside what we want to do what’s best for our kids. That’s part of being a parent. I don’t get upset about missing a social engagement to stay home with my little one. I’m fine with spending my disposable income on her dance lessons or summer camps instead of a vacation for me. I have no problem splitting my investments between my own retirement and her college fund. I promise I’m okay with sacrificing for my child!

But do I have to enjoy missing the fireworks every year? I mean, I think I should get to admit that it kind of sucks. And it does suck.

So enjoy your fireworks tonight. And take just a minute to think of me, cuddled up inside, listening to all that noise with none of the fun view.

(Photo: greenland/Shutterstock)

14 Comments

  1. Claire Z.

    July 4, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    I was your kid. I was terrified of fireworks and I know it annoyed my parents. I am over it now, but I maintain that fear of fireworks kind of makes sense. First, they’re really loud and secondly, you hear so much about firework danger and safety that it kinda gets drilled into your head that fireworks are things that can explode in your face or burn you (I was afraid of ones falling on us before they had completely cooled off.) Anyway, I’m sorry you’ll miss the show! I would come and hang out with your kid while you go out as my fear of fireworks eventually grew into an eventual ennui towards them.

  2. Rachael

    July 4, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    Was your daughter ever in the NICU as a baby? I was, and there is some speculation that such an experience can lead to fear related to bright lights and loud noises, which of course is pretty much fireworks in a nutshell.

    And yes, I had an absolute phobia of fireworks from the very beginning – still do – and my parents missed out because of me when I was little. (I still refuse to go outside after dark on Canada Day.) By the time I was seven or eight, I was able to handle it myself. So it’s not like you’re missing out for the rest of your life.

    If it means that much to you, maybe get your husband to look after your daughter next year, or a babysitter? There’s nothing stopping you from going yourself.

  3. NotThumper

    July 4, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    Really? You actually used the word resentment towards your daughter because of stupid fireworks? Wow…
    I’m glad you’re not my mom.

    • Claire Z.

      July 4, 2012 at 4:37 pm

      Just because a mom makes sacrifices for her kids doesn’t mean she’s obligated to be happy with these sacrifices.

    • NotThumper

      July 5, 2012 at 9:40 am

      Of course it doesn’t but writing an entire article bitching about it makes her look worse than she would if it was just an off-handed comment.

  4. c6martin2

    July 4, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    I was one of those children, and my parents never cuddled with me away from all the bangs. They forced me to go to the parades and the fireworks every year, and I still haven’t forgiven them for it, and I can’t handle explosive sounds to this day. I wish my parents had your sense to do what you do, but I don’t think you have the right to resent your child because you have no idea what it’s like for her. If you want to see the fireworks THAT badly, then hire a babysitter who doesn’t mind missing out on them and go to them yourself. Quit complaining. At least you’re not a small traumatized child who can’t avoid something that terrifies her every year.

  5. Verstrickt

    July 4, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    Well, you could always ask your partner to take child-comforting duty (or at least alternate years). Or get a sitter. Or put your child in the basement with a loud movie on. Or instead of working out a solution that balances the needs of your child with your [reasonable] desire to watch fireworks, you could just write a pointless, woe-is-me article to complain. Talk about First World problems.

  6. BK

    July 4, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    Ha, it is SUCH a relief to read this! I don’t have kids, but I’ve always been so worried that if/when I have them, I’ll be super resentful when I want to do something and they don’t. And reading this makes me realize that’s okay. You’re still being a great mom, and clearly putting your kid first – it’s just really nice to see that you can do that, but also feel a little bit put out that you’re missing out on something you like.

  7. Cerne

    July 5, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    It’s it just the noise that frightens her? If so buy a set of children hearing protectors (like these: http://www.earplugstore.com/ear-muffs-for-children.html) so she can see the pretty without the loud bang. May be a good way to transition her into enjoying the full experience. Many kids also have an exceptional range of hearing and that may be the issue here.

    • Mya

      July 5, 2012 at 8:12 pm

      THIS! The problem might just be the loud noise they make. Yes, try covering her ears with these!

  8. Ashley

    July 5, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    When I was a kid, I hated fireworks because they were loud and it hurt to listen to them. I was always doubled over, holding my hands over my ears, but my mom still forced me to go every year, because “not liking fireworks is stupid.” I still remember these instances perfectly because of how awful they were. I feel bad for your daughter, and I wouldn’t want any kid to have to go through that.

  9. Jenni

    July 5, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    This is my niece. My husband and I can’t understand how at 7 years old, she will still hide in her mom’s arms and cry at fireworks. I could understand if she was scared leading up to it, but this kid seems to forget every year that we are going to go see the flashy things that go boom.
    It was especially bad this year when she was there with our 3-month-old and 18-month-old nephews; the 18-month-old cried and then pretended to fall asleep (we think he went to his ‘happy place’) and the 3-month-old didn’t even make a peep. He was just fascinated by the fireworks. When babies behave better than a 7 year old, there is a problem.

    • Rachael

      July 5, 2012 at 7:52 pm

      It’s not a question of good behaviour, she could have an actual phobia. There’s probably a situation where she would behave more calmly than an adult (like seeing a spider or something). Maybe you should try to understand why?

  10. Devan

    November 7, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    I have a similar fear to Fireworks, but I’m autistic and nowadays they will drive me uncomfortable and I have to keep away from them. Maybe your child will just overcome this fear and just learn to like them.

    Part of the reason why I hate them is because I have sensory issues, any loud high pitches noises or intense lights will give me pain rather than the average person where it would just make them uncomfortable. I learned to live with those problems and you have to learn to understand other people’s difficulties and maybe one day they will overcome them.

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