Aiden is very sensitive. While the upside of this nature is a very gentle and curious little boy, Aiden also has many things that he’s afraid of. These things will translate into hysterical crying, if we’re not careful. His sensitivity does not, thankfully, translate into extra tantrums or feelings of being overwhelmed in public.
When Aiden is a little bit scared of something, he’ll tell you by saying “Aiden no yike it.” Unfortunately, there are a lot of things that Aiden doesn’t “yike” (like), even when you just look at things that are obviously upsetting him (he will use the phrase for food and things he doesn’t want to do, of course).
His current top fears include:
- Dogs (small ones in particular)
- Driving through puddles (huge fear – both the noise and the splashing)
- Car washes
- Swiper the Fox in Dora the Explorer
- The middle sequence of The Polar Express (the top of the train, the sliding on the ice, the puppets, the man hitting the wall in the tunnel)
- Monsters. We couldn’t watch The Grinch because he looked scary and Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer was most definitely out after the Abominable snowman totally freaked Aiden out.
- Getting any part of his head wet
There are things that do cause Aiden’s anxiety to peak, though not with such dramatic teary results. These things have included loud car noises, a flock of geese, parades with many fire engines and large crowds of people. Sometimes something different, like a new type of diaper or a vest vs a jacket, can set off a big freakout as well.
Most of the things that cause Aiden to be upset are things that are very loud or unexpectedly loud. He’s learned to express this by saying things are “very noisy.” Having a way to express his anxiety has helped a lot at forestalling tears. Knowing what upsets Aiden also lets us avoid things – areas known to have big puddles or fast forwarding through certain movies, for example.
He’s starting to use the word “scared” as well, though we are balancing a fine line with that. While we try to give Aiden the words to describe his feelings, I’ve been a little bit cautious about specifically calling out his fears. I don’t want Aiden to feel self-conscious about his fears, or be labelled as ‘scared of things’ when I think some of his sensitivities are temporary. I’d rather he feel like he can find ways to express his anxieties without saying he’s scared. If that makes sense.
How do you talk with your children about their fears?