• Aga Andrews

Overcoming Fears

I'm feeling rather awful with a cold but my mind is racing so I've had to do this post. Because yesterday, my middle child has done something I am very proud of. She faced some of her fears and guess what? They were not as big as they seemed.

Sometime last year, Florence developed a bug phobia. She was absolutely terrified of anything small that could walk, crawl, slither or fly. No matter how many times me or her father would explain that bugs are useful, that they have a place on this Earth and that they will not harm her, she would still shout like crazy when she's seen one. Not to even mention her reaction if one would land on her... While she came to terms with some of the bugs like flies, june bugs, moths and ants, some others are still a challenge. And I know that our explanations are not very helpful because after all, words do not have that much meaning when you're five years old and you’re imagination is big. So over time, I have been slightly encouraging her to face her fears. Every time we've seen a bug or two I would prompt her to give them a chance. How? Well, you'll find out soon.

The other day, I took girls and our dog for an autumnal walk in our town. While we were walking, I've noticed a frog in a grass and I called Florence over to have a look. It was quite cute and was a very tiny frog. I usually tease my kids and say something like "do you wanna catch the frog?", knowing there's no chance of it happening but Florence surprised me as she decided to stroke it. She didn't even flinched when the frog jumped. Of course loads of praise was given and we just moved on with our walk.

Yesterday, while hubby was slaving in a well overgrown garden and I was supervising kids running around, I've noticed a family of snails. I knew they were going to end up either in a waste bin with all leaves or under the ground so I've put them in my hand and I asked Florence what she wants to do. While her baby sister carried on saying "bleh" when looking at the snails, Florence took them carefully, shell by the shell and carried all to a safe place. Snails, being by nature free spirited molluscs, decided to slither all over place, therefore my daughter was unimpressed. Having unutilized little greenhouse in the garden, I offered it to Florence to use it for a home for the snails. It has two holes on the sides so snails were free to get out if they wished so, but my child was overjoyed having a mission to complete. She's built them a house with some nasturtium leaves for food, rocks and bark as islands and grass for greenery. And then moved the snails by carrying their shells. While this was a good step ahead, she was still turning her face when they popped their heads out of the shells.

In the meantime I found some wiggly worms in the soil so I called the girls to have a look. Their reaction was "bleh" and "ugh" but then I explained what purpose worms have and I've asked Florence if she'd like to touch one. And she did. I swear, she completely surprised me there and I think she surprised herself a little bit too. Seeing there is nothing scary, she just started carrying worms and snails around. And I could see this satisfaction in her eyes because she overcame something that seemed so scary and disgusting. Suddenly there was no more fear towards slimy crawlies and later on we talked about how great it feels when we achieve something new. Because things are never as scary as they seem in our heads. And I have learnt that being patient and taking small steps when facing a problem, has great results in the end. I hope Florence understood how good it is to push yourself a little bit and how amazing it feels in the end. We have yet have to tackle arachnophobia but I will leave that for another day because to be honest, I’m not too keen on that one myself. But I do know that I don’t want my daughter being limited in live because of her fears. I want her to learn that she can overcome any challenges life might throw at her.

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