When I Can’t Calm My Son’s Fears
Today I’m over at Amy Julia Becker’s Christianity Today blog sharing about parenting, anxiety, and my own “Small Talk” experiences with my son. If you haven’t yet read my interview with Amy Julia from earlier this week, click here. Her new book Small Talk is the perfect Christmas gift for the mom in your life.
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This past summer I picked up a book called The Highly Sensitive Person, a recommendation from a friend who felt it might help me understand myself. I’ve been a deep feeler all my life, and often joke that feeling is my spiritual gift. Or maybe it’s making people cry. Either way, my sensitivities are often both a curse and a blessing. My sensitive nature is both the gem that has made me a writer and the dynamite that blasts my mind with reckless anxiety. Back and forth, back and forth.
What I didn’t know when I picked up that book to learn about myself was how deeply it would speak to me about my child. My oldest son matches every description I’ve read of the highly sensitive child. He feels everything deeply, has a mind full of rich stories and insights, cries often, struggles with anger, has terrible nightmares, and worries. He worries a lot.
Every season has its obsessions and concerns. While his fascination with volcanoes at age three had him spouting off facts about Pompeii like a tiny adult, his fear developed right alongside his love of knowledge. Last fall, after his kindergarten class practiced an earthquake drill, he switched from volcanoes to earthquakes and we worked through his ever-growing fear of earthquakes for months. My son’s late night terrors would wake him and he would wake us, crying in fear of a future earthquake. Night after night of three am wake up cries and earthquake conversations, my husband and I would try to keep our cool. We’d whisper the same things we whisper now:
God is here. Mommy and Daddy are here. We will always take care of you. We’re sleeping nearby and we’ll help you if there’s an earthquake. God loves you and you are safe.
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