There was nothing particularly special about today. I kept Ryann home from school because she had a well visit that was early enough to seem silly to send her off and pull her out, but late enough to where it also seemed pointless to drop her off late. So I just said, “what the heck, she can stay home.” She also was getting shots so I knew there was going to be some anxiety before and maybe some needed rest and relaxing after. Going to the Doctor can not only be emotionally taxing on children but also us adults (moms imparticular!) I’ve learned a few things over the years that I firmly believe help.
1.) I’ve decided to always be honest with my kids about what’s gonna happen.
They may get worked up and cry when I tell them “yes you are getting shots” but what I’m finding is that honesty breeds trust (it’s kind of how honesty and trust work. I know what you are thinking “thank you captain obvious” lol) when I tell them what will happen and that “mommy and daddy and the doctors want your best and to help you stay healthy” and explain things like “the nurse will be careful and quick” they are hearing what I tell them, seeing that it’s indeed what happens and in turn, we build trust. Believe me it’s worth the tears for your kids to trust your word and know you aren’t with holding information. Tears are temporary but trust or distrust is always present. In being honest about why things need to happen, they can grow and begin to anticipate what life brings and we can help them handle their responses properly. I am learning even the smallest non-truth produces an insecurity in a child’s heart. As in one little lie even if you dont recognize it as a lie, can make a child feel anxious and unsure of what will happen next because that complete trust and truth isnt there. Have you ever noticed how children, babies even, are very sensitive and aware when things are wrong. I’m telling you, my kids have a “spider sense” to dishonesty. We have to have courage as parents, not to shelter our kids from the “unknown” but to be honest. Even in things that seem silly, simple, irrelevant even because our kids are so “young”. Yes, there are some matters that you can explain are not for their ears but I highly recommend honesty at all times 🙂 Our courage to face life and be truthful about some of the scary things will produce confidence and courage in our kids. And boy are they going to need it!
2.) Reward their courage.
Most of us parents do the whole treat thing. I know we have always done something special after the “trauma inducing” shot experience. I have changed my approach a bit over the years. I encourage you, after your honesty going into it 😉 to reward the courage they had after it. Don’t offer pity or let them sulk too long. Build up their bravery. It can easily be skewed, encouragement and enabling. Don’t enable your child to stay a baby. Evidence of growth both physically and emotionally is healthy. We enjoy each phase of life but we should cultivate growth and maturity. Life is tough. They need us to build their courage and strength and confidence so that they can overcome difficulties, pain, and challenges.
We should begin breeding and building these qualities now 🙂 Some great verses on bravery, courage and trust.
English Standard Version (ESV)
6 Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?
To add to all that, I am seeing a new view from my kids OF those scary unknown things. For one they don’t begrudge me for allowing “it” to happen. They trust that it was for their benefit and see that they can “overcome” it. They aren’t scared out of their minds every time we go to the doctor or an unfamiliar place and if they do have some anxiety they move beyond it quite quickly because they see that mommy is not scared and they have learned over the years that mommy can be trusted. Mommy and daddy have never misled us and have always done their best to protect us physically and emotionally. Our children may not be able to verbalize all those things, but it is clear when they feel them or when they don’t.
So after we did the whole doctor visit, we cruised on over to Chickfila for a milk shake. Ryann was the only one who earned the privilege of getting a shake. Not me, not Caleb, not little miss happy girl. I don’t know what to code name her but she is a very happy girl 🙂 This was important to me to show. It was hard too because I really wanted a chicken sandwhich! But I wanted both girls to know that for the person who chose braveness she reaps a blessing. Or milkshake in this case which if you ask me is certainly a blessing.
1 Peter 3:13-14
Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.”
We get home and enjoyed some lunch and it was time for the littles to nap. So here we were, me and Ryann, in the quiet of our house.
Getting to the best part of this day, when I sat down to fold laundry and Ryann offered to help. However it wasn’t her willingness to help that filled my heart at that moment, though I certainly welcomed it. It was her company. I looked at her and realized how I miss her. I sat there with this wonderful feeling of gratefulness over this moment together folding laundry. just her and I. 🙂 I told her “I’m so glad you got to stay home with me today, mommy misses you!” And she gave me a great big gummy toothy Ryann smile. And I just feel so full right now.
And THAT comes from God and I love him for it.
1 John 4:19 We love, because he first loved us.