When Your Kids are Half Excited and Half Scared
Things were changing a bit for my daughter at school this week, and it meant a change of classroom and schedule. It also meant new kids. So, on Sunday night, I asked her what she was thinking about the changes. She said, “I’m half excited, and half scared.” I love that answer, because she captured very clearly that she was looking forward to it, and dreading it, at the same time. This is, in essence, the tension of childhood. When they go to the playground, children know that they are going to try something new and are really excited; but at the same time, they have butterflies because it is scary.
As adults, we can forget what it’s like to live in that world of excitement and fear. Knowing that the last time you tried you didn’t make it, but you’re pretty sure you’ll make it this time. There is both an optimism and pessimism at work.
Being grownups, we tend to get out of this place of “half excited and half scared”. We instead, find a place where we aren’t scared, but neither are we excited. The problem is, since we are rooted in the world of bland at times, we aren’t sure how to relate to our kids and the storm that is going on in their heads.
Here are several things I try to remember.
Every day, my kids do things that would intimidate me. They meet new people, are confronted with things they don’t know, and are expected to play nicely with anyone their parent picks. These are hard things, and as a parent, it is good to acknowledge that they are hard.
God shaped our kids each with their own personality, which affects their comfort with new situations and people. Some people get their energy from people, and others get it from tasks. Some relish a fast pace with a lot of decisions, and others prefer to be calculated. These are good, God-given things. A good resource is: “Parenting from Your Strengths”, from Ministry Insights. Here are a couple of points they present:
- Struggle is good. Just because it is hard doesn’t mean they shouldn’t experience it. Just as kids enjoy testing themselves on the playground, other socially and mentally difficult tasks bring good, and build up our kids.
- I need to model taking on challenges. My attitude toward change and hard things is caught by my kids. I can’t expect them to try new things if I’m unwilling to take on personal challenges.
So, as a parent, I think we need to personally experience more “half excited/half scared” moments, so we understand what our kids are going through. We also don’t need to take away the ‘scared’, it is a great fuel for growth and confidence. Finally, these conversations are rich. Take time to explore the feelings and thoughts that they have as they experience life. It will be a blast, to your soul and to theirs, to connect in this way.