Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Let them Fear?

My kids sure have their fears. They are scared of bees, certain spiders, riding a bike (she is anyway), falling, darkness, and many, many fears while we are camping.

During a particular camping trip last fall the sounds and bugs and fears were heightened. It was the first time since my son’s (finally appropriate) mental health treatment that we camped; so he was aware of his surroundings because he wasn’t living inside his head for the first time in a long time. He wasn’t suicidal. He was also participatory.

I think the fact that he cares about what is going on around him makes him fearful. The same is true for my daughter too actually, although her fears have been more consistent over the years.

Julian was exasperated because they were both afraid of something or some things and he let out that parent exhale. I told him I thought that the kids have to be allowed to be as fearful as they want and we have to just try to reassure them. They've spent years being brave and not fearful through testing, dialysis, needles, doctor meetings, surgeries, procedures, blood so I figure we can give them some leeway.

I know it seems like an obvious thing but it's not. It's hard to remember that their mental health is like a rubber band and for (some) kids that have survived, have lived through life-saving illnesses and surgeries, have to have some spring back on the band. They aren't typical kids, no matter how many people want to see them that way since they have normal kidney function. Typical kids don't go through what they have and because of their experiences my kids aren't going to react like typical kids.

Fearing other things not connected to their health helps them cope with the fears of their on-going health care experience; what they know will be their on-going, life-long health care experience.

And that is why we should let them have their fears.

Julia blogs her family's journey at Kidneys and Eyes and began a social networking site for special needs familieis called Support for Special