As a fairly new parent (only seven years of experience thus far), I am new to understanding fear and worry from a child's perspective. I don't recall my own childhood fears at the same age to make a comparison. I can't recall how my parents dealt with my fears in order to decide whether the approach(es) worked well or whether I'd like to try something different. So with this parenting topic, all I have are my instincts, my friends, and the Internet...if I'm brave (holy opinions!).
My daughter's most recurring fears are the dark and being alone in a given room of the house. She has other fears as well. I've been tackling these fears for a while now, trying to identify a method that works to kick them to the curb.
It takes adults time to change a thought pattern. I expect it does in a child as well. I am painfully aware that patience is required to help her through this. So, when it comes to tackling these fears, I have often felt like a broken record...until yesterday.
When I dropped her off at school yesterday morning, her demeanor was unusual. I decided to inquire about what was wrong. She said she anticipated arguments with a classmate and was worried that she wouldn't have a good day.
My immediate feelings were of love and compassion. I didn't want her to worry about that, or anything for that matter. There was also concern because I feel like I've been tackling numerous fears/worry for a while now. I wanted to alleviate the worry, but more importantly, I wanted to say the right thing. Whatever words manifested from my lips, I wanted them to be age appropriate. I needed her to be able to digest what I said. I wanted my words and actions to help her FEEL lighter!
In that moment, I followed my instincts. I bent down to her level. I hugged her. I validated her fears. She often has challenges of some kind with this classmate, and it was understandable that she'd expect something would happen again. No one looks forward to engaging with someone with whom they frequently have provocation. Then I told her that I believe we see/get what we expect. I reminded her that her worries may not actually happen. I asked her how she felt about thinking the opposite — that she'd have a great day. Her face lit up! She got a HUGE smile on her face and said, "You're right! It's going to be a great day!"
When I picked her up later in the day, do you know what she told me? She didn't have a great day...she had a FANTASTIC day! In her mind, her own expectations had been exceeded.
How lovely is that?
Mom score! Whoop whoop! Go me! Go me!
I'll probably have this same conversation tomorrow. Until then, I'm celebrating.
Be open to what comes.