Friday, October 16, 2009

Letting the knots untie...

One of the reasons that I started homeschooling Rebecca is that her anxiety level for the last few years had become very high. Transitions, and especially standardized tests had begun to really stress her out. Stomachaches and headaches were a part of her daily life and really killing the joy of learning and trying new things.

One of the most vexing manifestations of this anxiety has been claustrophobia/agoraphobia in restaurants. Everything would start out fine, but once we placed our orders I could see her starting to panic. She'd be afraid she was going to be sick, her head would pound.

We stopped eating out.

She's been working on relaxation techniques which have been very helpful. I also think that getting out of the daily school grind and taking a less high stakes approach to learning has been amazing. Her stomach rarely hurts and her headaches are far less frequent.

The real test was today.

We went to Zaftigs for lunch.

Not only did we go out to lunch, we went to a noisy, crowded restaurant.

I didn't make a big deal of it. We just went. We brought books in case there was a wait and that seemed to calm her. Once we were seated she ordered and read a bit while Lily and I played tic-tac-toe. When our food came we oohed and ahhhed over everything and reader, she did great.

It was really remarkable and I was so relieved for her. I know that the more positive experiences she has, the more comfortable she will be in restaurants.

I've commented before about the sweet rush of emotional joy which is parental relief. Watching her knots loosen was wonderful and untied a few of my own.

11 comments:

Cheryl said...

I'm do glad for you all. Especially Rebecca. I know how that feels as an adult. Fully comprehending the irrationality of the fear doesn't help. Moving through takes the time and patience you're offering her. Keep up the great work trying to help her find safety.

Love,
C

mgster said...

The progress Rebecca has made is really remarkable. I am just so happy for your family. As the parent of a son who has always suffered from social anxiety, I know where you are coming from. Just keep doing exactly what you are doing!

Anonymous said...

Great news!! Dad

Piecefulafternoon said...

How wonderful for Rebecca that she has such great parents who listen to her moods and her body when they speak out. This kind of parenting could help so many kids today.

Saguaro Chick said...

It is amazing how stressful school can be on children. So happy to hear all the positive affects the change is already having on Rebecca!

Ginger said...

I suffered the same anxiety as Rebecca when I was in the 6th grade. As an adult, it still comes and goes, depending on the situation. It is so neat that you recognize this and are helping her deal with it.

Anonymous said...

Sara You really do truly, rock! - Miss TT

Pom Pom said...

School stresses me out, too.
I love your new header!
All things shiny red = happy and true!
Way to go on the homeschooling. Even though I am a public school teacher - I believe in home school, too.

Julie said...

You're such a nice mommy. My dad would've said, "stop faking it."

All things bright and beautiful... said...

I'm so pleased for you and your daughter & I so understand the maternal knots being unravelled :)
I think school and thus childhood is very stressful - I am an ex teacher :)
We always used to take distraction toys/books/colouring out with us - in the bustle of a too busy world - it is good to have a calming toy focus:)
Lynn

Lisa said...

I am so glad you had a great time! My sister's 6 yr old is showing signs of stress that she is addressing immediately. He is not doing well in school ( not really his teacher's fault she is a little too unstressed and unstructured which we think is a problem, my family is crazy too! hehe) and we are having "fits" that had stopped for over 2 years. We thought he out grew them. So I'm hoping that it works out very well! You are doing a great job with your girls!
Hugs, Lisa