Insights from a morning gone wrong
So, let me tell you about this morning. It was not a good morning.
First, there are a few things to know. Normally, my hubby walks our daughter to the bus, which is about 100 feet from our front door. This morning, however, he had to go out of town for work. We arranged for the older child who usually walks her home to come by in the morning and walk her to the bus. For reasons I don't yet know, they didn't show up. I don't drive and I am recovering from a broken leg, so we were sort of grounded. Now, normally I would have chalked it up to a day at home, told her to get back in her pjs and moved on. (We have about three weeks left of school here). However, as the universe would have it, today was also standardized testing day at school, a day the children aren't supposed to miss. I was about to call a cab to take my daughter to school, when hubby (whom I had told about the situation) told me he had texted a nearby friend who had agreed to come drive my daughter to school. PHEW!! What a relief.
Now, in the meantime, C had had a complete panic attack. I tried to get her to walk to the corner (where the bus stop is) herself. She is 8, and I can see her all the way to the corner from our window. She got about halfway and started to cry. She couldn't do it. She is a very timid child and isn't one for branching out on her own. So, I called out the window for her to come back inside. She ran back to the house and because I am using a wheelchair right now it took me a minute to get to the door. When I got there, she wasn't there. I came back to the front door and she wasn't there either. I heard crying coming from the kitchen (where the back door is) and so I quickly went back there. She was standing at the back door, crying her sweet little heart out, saying, "You didn't let me in, Mama!" She was scared and devastated. In that blink, she thought I wasn't going to let her in and she panicked.
As I mentioned, all turned out well. She got to school and, as the teacher tells me, she is writing the test and all is fine. However, the events of today got me thinking about a few things.
My child is a timid child. I have known this for her whole life. She isn't a risk taker. But to be completely paralyzed with fear to take a walk she takes every morning, a walk where I can see her the entire way, with no crossing streets, etc. That seems to me like something she should be more comfortable with. I'm not saying her being timid is a bad thing -- I'm the same way. I'm just wondering whether I am doing her a disservice as a parent by not encouraging her to branch out and be more independent. But how do I do that? How do you encourage a child who is so full of anxiety to take risks, without causing a meltdown? How do you teach them to be independent problem solvers while being safe? I'm not sure.
I'm a worrier. I try not to show this side of me in front of my child because I know it makes her worse, but how do I reconcile parental worries with teaching her to branch out and that she can do things on her own? I just don't know.
Here's the current plan: This summer, I am going to get her to practice walking to the bus stop. I'll be at one end (home) and daddy will be at the bus stop. But I want her to trust herself to walk the distance in between on her own. Just in case she needs to some day, you know?
What are your tips for helping a timid child be brave? Help a mama out!