Friday, March 14, 2014

Shoo Fly...Dealing With Fear

So, since the wasp in van craziness last week, the girls have been a lil' stand-offish when it comes to flying bugs. Well, the other day when I laid the girls down for their usual nap, I suddenly heard the loudest shrieks from upstairs. I quickly darted towards the screams assuming someone must have gotten seriously injured from how bloodcurdling their cries were. Once I finally reached their room, I opened the door only to find Aidy & Ashy tightly clinging to each other, cheeks drenched in crocodile tears. "What's the matter?" I asked, definitely a little out of breath from my mini marathon darting up the stairs. "A fly!!!" was their weepy reply. Really....A fly, huh? All that over a lil' fly? You almost woke up your sleeping baby brother & 2 exhausted sisters, had me almost biff it head first on the stairs, & sent my heart into an absolute spin over a harmless 5mm bug with wings?! These were my thoughts anyway, of course I didn't say these things aloud & tried to mask how ridiculous I thought they were acting. To me this made no sense at all, but to them this was an honest to goodness valid fear.

There are many different things that can startle a young child & make them feel uncomfortable-barking dogs, creepy bugs, slithering snakes, an intimidating doctor's office, or the dark are some of the more common fears children may battle. But then there are also the more..."unique" fears that send them into an absolute tizzy that can be hard for us as adults to really understand-the feel of grass, a flushing toilet, friendly costume characters, & so forth. To us as adults, we already understand through our personal experiences & wisdom that these things are not things to be terrified over & if they do make us feel uncomfortable then by now we have usually come up with coping mechanisms to help us not completely freak out & lose it. Children on the other hand are very new to things in this world & have not been exposed to so many things or yet learned coping skills to overcome what makes them feel uncomfortable.

 I remember as a child being afraid of grapes...Yes, I did say "grapes". The brown tops of the grapes, where they were once attached to the stem, absolutely freaked me out. I remember crying every time I saw them on my plate. I did not want to eat them, look at them, or have anything to do with them! Ridiculous right? On a level I would want to go back & shake my 5 year old self & say "Get it together already", but to me back then it was a very valid & real fear. Thankfully my parents didn't just sit there & yell at me for it, but rather took the approach of slowly helping me to overcome the fear & see that there was nothing to be intimidated about & now I absolutely adore the things.

Its not always easy as adults to remember what it was like to be a child & try to understand their reasoning on things. Sometimes it definitely takes some real patience & a strong attempt on our behalf to not call what they are feeling absolutely "ridiculous" or "absurd", but to instead validate their feelings first & then proceed to help them push past their fear even if we still don't quite get where they are coming from.

How can you help your child overcome a fear? I would say to first hear them out & try to understand what exactly is intimidating them. For Aidy & Ashy, they were worried the fly was going to hurt them & they didn't like how it would try to land on them & make a loud buzzing sound by their ears. Once they voiced their concerns to me, I let them know that I heard them & understood what they were saying & then I tried to help them work through each concern by explaining & empowering them. I let them know that flies could not hurt them. They don't have stingers like wasps or bees & can just be kind of annoying the way they like to land on people & buzz by their ears. I then tried to empower them by letting them know they could shoo the fly away by using their hand, a fly swatter, or even by simply rolling up a magazine. I then showed them how to do it & then had them practice. I explained how they were bigger than a fly & how he was actually more scared of them. In my family we like to also give the kids scriptures to help empower them. So, went over 4 scriptures in the Bible about fear ("The Fantastic 4!") that they will be memorizing so that they can use them whenever they feel afraid about anything to help give them strength & know they are never alone.

After the girls tried swatting at the fly a few more times (While singing "Shoo fly, don't bother me" of course), I also explained how if they ever felt like they needed even more back up or help in any situation, that mommy & daddy were also there to step in & help if they would only ask instead of screaming & crying. The girls then decided to write a book about not being afraid of bugs to "help other kids out there not be afraid". They warm my heart I tell you!

I am also going to start looking into some more books about bugs & take the bug museum soon because I believe knowledge is power & this can definitely help them "squash" any fears of bugs they may have. I had to okay.

Like I said, as a child there are so many things in the big & not fully explored world that can intimidate a child & I believe as parents it is part of our job to be honest & open & help show them tools to begin to work through each new fear that tries to present itself. This also includes us doing our best not to push our own insecurities, fears, & anxieties on our children.

Have a wonderful night & productive tomorrow!

-M&M Momma

Just hanging out in our diapers

My bunch!

Car seat facing forward...
I don't know about this.

Looking for a new member
to add to the A2Zteam
sometime soon.

Rocking out!

Sporting her Doc McStuffin pjs, lol

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