I don't have as much patience as I should for my children's irrational fears. The there's-a-monster-under-my-bed kind of fears that have no basis in reality. Oh, I'm patient and understanding and helpful up to a point, and then I'm done and just want them to stop being scared!
This is unfair and hypocritical of me because as a child, I was a mass of fears. My mother truly wondered if I'd grow up to be a functioning member of society, so riddled was I with debilitating phobias. A sick feeling in the pit of my stomach was my almost ever present companion through approximately the third grade. My trepidations were wide and varied.
Here are three of the many.
I was terrified of dogs. There was nothing rational about this fear. I don't believe I've ever been bitten by a dog. But, nevertheless, my fear of them was primal and relentless. No amount of reasoning, coaxing, bribing or teaching on my parents part could make a dent in my insurmountable anxiety over all things canine. Big slobbery dogs, little yappy dogs, the size didn't matter, they all scared me to death. We owned a dog and it was the only fido on the planet that didn't send me screaming in the opposite direction. It took middle school years and the embarrassment of showing obvious fear in front of friends to curb my dog woes. I'll never be a pooch lover, but unless they're ferocious, I'm no longer alarmed by them.
My next fear was the worry of being permanently separated from my parents. Every Wednesday, after school, I watched my bus pull away without me and waited for my mom to pick me up and take me to dance lessons. I vividly remember, week after week, sitting alone on the bench in front of the school drenched in misery, knowing I might never see my parents again and contemplating the wretchedness my life would become. Mom always came, of course, but I still worried every week. Age fixed this one too, but not before years of torment at it's hands.
My third fear, was short lived, but the most debilitating. At age five-ish, I was taught in church that Satan wanted every one of us. What a horrific thought! I was just a little girl. What chance did I have against the devil? If he wanted me, I was doomed! Period. My mom repeatedly spent time trying to reassure me, teach me, and help me cope. But nothing she said made any difference. I spent my days and nights gripped in continual fear that it was only a matter of time before the Devil had me in his impervious grasp. She persisted and eventually got it through my head that obedience to God diminished Satan's power over me. That he could only have power over me as I gave it to him through committing sin. What a relief, and an incredibly useful piece of information! I was empowered! I may have been small and wimpy, but obedience I could DO; and, thankfully, my distress over the Prince of Darkness became thing of the past.
I don't know the reasons behind my abundance of fears as a child. I came from a wonderful home. My mom was the type that played with me, read to me, sang to me, snuggled with me and laughed with me every single day. I have always been absolutely secure in her love for me. Dad was less hands on, but I knew that he loved me and would always protected me from harm. And yet, my life, until I was nine-ish was a mass of phobias.
I don't quite understand how my mother managed to be patient with me and my constant worrying, but she did. And so the next time my six year old is frightened over something unrealistic. I'm gonna follow Mom's example and hang on to understanding a bit longer.