Over the last 6 months, my son (7), has begun having nightmares, and sometimes anxiety before he’s even gone to sleep, about being scared of the world and situations around him.
My Dad and Step-Mum, both work closely with children of all ages, and have assured me this is normal-something I confirmed with our old friend Google. Apparently at this age, children become more aware of mortality-their own and other peoples. They overthink situations that usually wouldn’t get a second thought.
Kye is clearly one of these children-once every couple of weeks, he’ll have a total meltdown, following a bad dream, or a thought he can’t shake from his head.
Last night, was no exception. He’d once again thought of a past situation, where something negative happened-and he’d over-thought what could’ve happened. Usually, I’d be slightly irritated by this interruption of my evening-I know this is normal and will pass, but I don’t stop most evenings until gone 11, and the more it happens, the more I naturally lose patience.
Last night however, I didn’t feel that irritation.
Let me enlighten you on the past experience he was dwelling on.
During the summer holidays, I took the children on the train to a neighbouring seaside town. We’d just been on the beach and I’d paid for the children to go on one of those ridiculously high inflatable slides. Olivia couldn’t even get up the steps for her three goes-and, after I’d shoved her bum up there (yes, I had to get on) twice, I told her we were done.
Kye had gone up, got to the top, seen the height, and come straight back down the steps close to tears.
I was irritated-irked, because I’d paid good money to have them on there and they’d wasted it.
It was on the walk back along the seafront, to the pier entrance to get an ice cream, that it happened-I had hold of Olivia’s hand, and Kye was right by my side. Then he wasn’t. I looked among the throng of people-through the cracks in the crowds, and he’d gone. And I just thought “he’s gone-someones taken him”. With panic rising, I called his name, and heard him call back, but I still couldn’t see him. Within seconds I could-he was the other side of a wall which was covering his whole body-I’d only caught sight of him because the wall had lowered.
The panic, mixed with fear, and the earlier irritation, culminated in me going to town on him in the middle of the seafront-shouting and telling him off, something I try not to do often in public for fear of what others will think of me. I just needed him to realise, what I was feeling.
Fast forward two weeks, and that incident is pushed to the back of all our minds-that is, until Kye went to bed.
He was thinking about all we’d done through the summer holidays, how much fun we had that day, and then he remembered it-Mummy shouting, being really cross, people looking, and how he felt.
By the time I got as quickly as possible, up the
fifty two flights of stairs (oh my legs), he was in full blown panic mode, arms outstretched, repeating how he just needed my cuddles.
I wanted to know why, and he explained he’d thought about that day and how I shouted, and what could have happened. He’d realised, someone could’ve taken him.
And I was happy-pleased that he’d thought that. Because he needs to be scared-to a point-of the world around him.
I explained, I live every second he’s with me, trying to keep him safe.
I didn’t want to lie to him, and pretend I’d been shouting for any other reason, so I told him-Mummy was scared-I was petrified, and I thought for a split second, that someone had taken him.
He shook his head when I asked him if he thought everyone in the world was nice-and I told him that he was right-there are bad bad people in the world-some of whom will take children.
That was why Mummy shouted, because she was scared she’d failed-she’d failed at the job she works tirelessly to do-to protect her children and keep them safe.
In a passing comment, I added that we’d received a text from his school the day before, asking if we wanted our child to be able to walk home from school on his own, and, if so, to fill in a form they’d attached.
He shook his head straight away, and I realised even if we were going to consider it (really we won’t be until he’s at least 27), he is way to scared of being alone in this horrid world, to want to have that independence.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want him to be scared of everything, and I do want him to be independent in other situations-those of which he’ll have explained along the way-but, in the current state of our country, with the absolute maniacs that we have living among us, I do want him to be scared.
Mainly, I want to be able to do my job-the job I chose when I had my babies. To keep them safe, and do the best I can to prepare them for their future, in an uncertain world with certain dangers. If that means my children are scared of certain situations-then so be it.