Calvin’s Fears

Recently, we gave Calvin a tough time at the playground because he just wouldn’t slide down without being in our lap. On hind sight, maybe we should have been more sensitive to his fears and I feel terrible for not being more emphatic at that time. We were trying to coax him to go down the slide in Washington park. He has actually gone down taller slides before like the one in school and Piedmont playground all by himself. But this time, he refused to even try even when we said we would catch him or hold his hands. In fact, he stood up there for 45 mins because we were all too stubborn about getting him to try.

In the car, when my mind has calmed down and I reflected on it, I realized I should have accepted his fears and gotten him to try a smaller slide or even go down with him to ease his fears.

And finally yesterday, when we were at a new park and he refused to go down a really small slide, we realized something wasn’t right. We noticed that he was frightened when we actually hold his hands because he fears that we would pull him down. That’s when everything clicked. Last week, at another playground, he was playing with a kid on a slide and when he hesitated, the boy clambered up and pushed him from behind. He slid down in a funny way, flipping to his side as he came down the tall slide. We didn’t notice it because Calvin was always cautious about slides so we thought it was just a relapse to his old self even though he was gaining so much self-confidence recently. N wonder he hasn’t been keen to go to the playground recently. ={

Knowing that now, I feel crappy for not noticing and trying to push him into doing things that scare him. Yesterday, we finally made him go down the slide by having me reach up really high up from below so that when he starts sliding down, I’ll help him slowly get down. Hopefully with practice, we will get over his fears. The other thing I hope we can help with is to verbalize his fears. His coping mechanism for something he is afraid of is to run away and keep quiet. I wish he would run to us instead and ask for a cuddle and be easier to talk to when we try to find out why he feels that way? Sometimes when I’m trying to help him verbalized his emotions, I wonder if he’s just accepting whatever I suggest to him. Is that really what he feels or is he just picking up the ideas from what I say and making it up?

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