When you're living with a child who is living with a lot of fear about the world around them - they're often described as very sensitive and perceptive - it's easy to get into a dynamic with them when you're trying to calm or alleviate those fears. You talk to them about, there's nothing to worry about. Or it will be okay. Or this is how you protect yourself. But what you're doing is connecting around the fear.
There are some things the child can't do anything about. And there are some things the child can do something about. What I really believe is that all behavior has a purpose. And so I look beyond the fear and say, what is the purpose for this child to constantly be in fear? Is it a way to get attention from a parent? Is it a way to show that he has power by worrying? What's the benefit to all of this worry?
and then I might take a dramatic shift in the way I interact with the child around the fear. I might put my hands up and say, there's nothing I can say to you about this fear. There's nothing I can do to change the world. There's nothing more I can do to keep you safe. So what do you want to do about this? Because empowerment is the remedy for fear over sensitivity, perception that focuses on what isn't working. What do you want to do about this right now? And that helps kids see where their power is over things they want to change, and what they're just going to have to learn to let go of.
You can help empower your children by turning over more and more of his life and his decisions to him with no help. You can't imagine how powerful it is for a child to decide whether they want to get up to an alarm clock that rings or sings. Whether they want to wear wind pants to school. That they like to have the same breakfast every morning even though everybody else in the rest of the family likes to have variation.
There are small things that a child can do in their life if we give them the opportunity that make them feel like they're in control of a large part of their life. But when we're overly helpful, when we try to make life easy for them, when we take care of all of the bumps in the road, we're really denying them an opportunity to feel safe in the world that we're going to ask them to go out and participate in.