Home again, home again, jiggitty jog!

We spent the entire day in the car. Our progress was delayed by traffic jams and multiple accidents, some of them frighteningly serious – we saw one car that had the entire top section squashed down – I can only hope the passengers survived, but it didn’t look good…

We have been dealing with some very clingy sleeping habits by our younger son, J. Before our vacation, he would elicit a promise from whichever parent was doing the bedtime routine. The promise? “When I’m scared at night, will you come in and get me?”

But, while we we away, in a different house, he managed to walk the few steps from his bed to ours, and sometimes, he didn’t even make that migration, a he didn’t insist that we come for him.

But now, back in our familiar home, where he knows exactly where we are, he wants us to come in to him, and get him from his bed when (note the “when”, not “if”) he’s scared, and escort him to our bed, AND turn on the light for him! And he repeated this plea for the promise over and over again.

What’s up?

He is an anxious child. So unlike his brother. We laughed about it at Disney World, because he was actually frightened by the Tomorrowland PeopleMover, listed as “Fun for everyone”. By the end of our trip, he was proud of the rides he was not scared about, but they were all still the most non-threatening rides.

His brother is such a dare-devil – I keep wondering, what is the key to helping J shed his anxiety? My daughter was, and is now, very independent, and S is totally independent (in fact, in his case, helping him deal with his vulnerability is the key challenge), but J is a Nervous Nelly, and I honestly don’t know how to deal with that.

I keep encouraging his successes at being independent, and he keeps accomplishing more. Is this enough? I can’t tell.

But, we sure would like to see him stay in his bed through the night…Sigh.

4 thoughts on “Home again, home again, jiggitty jog!

  1. Sometimes (certainly not "always," because there's rarely an "always" with kids), it helps to remind my kids (then) and the kids I work with now about successes they've had that are similar; times they pushed through the fear; or I wasn't available to help them, and they managed to do it. And sometimes, with the kids I work with now, it helps to give them a mantra to use in calming themselves. But it's not easy and is frequently a work in process…. Good luck to all of you.

    1. Janaki says:

      Thanks, Mary!

      The funny thing with J is that I keep thinking he's rounded a corner – yesterday at Disney World, he kept assuring me that "I'm not scared" about things that had scared him the day before – so I expect him to get past the fear.

      It was kind of a shock for him to so repeatedly insist tonight that we respond to an anticipated fear, here in our own home, after he'd made so much progress away.

      But, we'll remain patient. What else can one do?

  2. As you know, we face with with kid #1 and a bit with #3 (though definitely not #2). I've found it helps *me* to remind myself that no matter how innocuous the trigger, her anxiety is real to her. That G rated movie that terrifies her? It doesn't really matter that all her peers enjoy it. She can't sit through it. So I have to support her as an individual, not as a typical six-year-old. It doesn't change the outcome automatically but the acknowledgement that her bothered-ness is real helps her a lot, which eventually changes the outcome.
    "Everybody's different," we say a lot.

    1. Janaki says:

      Thanks – as I was writing I knew that you've been tackling this very challenge. I appreciate the words of support. I grew up with so much anxiety and lack of self-confidence, and somehow pulled strength out of myself, and I figured that if a child has stability and support provided him/her, the confidence will naturally follow – silly me, huh?

      You're right – everyone's different.

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