Saturday, July 18, 2015

Overcoming Our Biggest Parenting Fears

There is nothing that can bring you closer to fearlessness about everything else in the world than being a parentbecause everyday fears, like not being approved of, pale by comparison to the fears you have about your children. — Arianna Huffington

Being a parent is an emotional experience.

Joy, frustration, and wonder are just a few of those emotions.

Fear is another.

Perhaps my fear had something to do with the fact that both my kids were late-preterm babies, each born a little over a month early.

Perhaps, the fear stemmed from my experiences in the NICU, their lower birth weights, or the fact that my son had to be rushed to the NICU in an ambulance when he was a few days old.

Or maybe a lot of parents feel this way.  

After my firstborn, my daughter, was released from the NICU, I remember having trouble sleeping. Although I was still exhausted from the rigors of childbirth,  I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. Through heavy eyelids, I watched her chest rise and fall.  Part of this was due to amazement and part of it was fear...fear that that she would stop breathing, or choke, or something. Of course after a night of this, I did sleep because I realized I needed to get some rest.

By the time we left the hospital, she was barely five pounds and she looked so small and fragile in her carseat.

When my son was born, I had similar fears.

During the newborn stage, I was often worried about their weight. I was worried about people bringing over germs and having them get sick and lose even more weight.

As my kids have gotten older, I still have fears about my children being hurt, physically or emotionally.  But, I have let go of some of my parenting fears. Part of that I attribute to time and part of it is realizing I’m not in control of everything.  

This summer, my family and I have been doing a lot of indoor rock climbing.  

At the facility we go to you have the choice to wear a harness and hook yourself into an auto-baley system (I’m not an expert but I feel like this system is so much safer than the manual baley systems I have used before).

Or you can boulder without a harness.

My son is only three and a half so he doesn’t boulder yet.  And, even though he is securely hooked into a harness, when I see him 30 or 40 feet up in the air, I find myself holding my breath.

Rock climbing has forced me to step out of my comfort zone….when I’m climbing and when I see my kids climbing, my heart starts beating a little bit faster.  

Because indoor rock climbing is not without risk.  However, neither is riding in a car or going on a roller coaster, or even going on a walk around the neighborhood.

But rock climbing has helped me realize this:

There are risks all around us. However, if we take the necessary precautions, if we inform our children about the world’s dangers and arm them with the skills to navigate through challenges, I know that risks are a necessary part of life and personal growth.

Indoor rock climbing, like most sports or recreational activities, has its risks but it also has a lot of benefits.
  • The mental challenge of figuring out the best way to climb up.
  • The physical challenge of climbing up the wall. 
  • The thrill of reaching the top of the route.
It builds your confidence and yes, it can help you overcome your climbing fears...and maybe even some of your parenting fears.

Plus, my kids love it. 

Tweet this: Nothing like a little indoor rock climbing to help chase away your parenting fears.

Along the way, rock climbing has helped me realize that wow, my kids can do this. They are growing up.  They are not helpless.  In fact, they are better climbers than I am.  They are capable of handling challenges on their own. 

Do you think risks are necessary for growth?  What parenting fears have you overcome?

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