My kids have their fears. They are scared of bees, certain spiders, riding a bike, falling, darkness, many, many fears while we are camping.
During a camping trip a while ago, the sounds and bugs and fears were heightened. It had been the first time since our son’s (appropriate) mental health treatment that we’d camped; so he was aware of his surroundings because he wasn’t living inside his head. He wasn’t suicidal. He was participatory.
Our son at the time at least cared about what is going on around him and some things made him fearful. Our daughter, too actually, although her fears have been more consistent over the years.
My husband was exasperated because they were both afraid of something or some things and he let out that parent exhale. I told him I thought that the kids have to be allowed to be as fearful as they want and we have to just try to reassure them. They’ve spent years being brave in order to get through testing, dialysis, needles, doctor meetings, surgeries, procedures, blood, mental health issues – all things they had absolutely no control over. I figured we have to give them some leeway on the fears of things they can control.
I know it seems like an obvious thing, but it’s not. It’s hard to remember that their metal health is like a rubber band and for (some) kids that have survived, have lived through life-saving illness and surgeries, have to have some spring back on the band. My kids aren’t typical kids, no matter how many people want to see them that way since they have normal kidney function. Typical kids don’t go through what they have and because their experiences are covered in illness, treatments and procedures, they aren’t going to react like typical kids.
I think fearing other things not connected to their health helps them cope with the fears of their health care experience; what they know will be their on-going, life-long health care experience.
Let them have their fears.
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