Panic Attacks and Health anxiety are both based on the fear of dying. Let us look at death through the eyes of a child. The day the rabbit died was monumental in my life because it taught me a life lesson. And NO, it has nothing to do about pregnancy!
Many years ago, as I lived in a small community my youngest son was 3 years old. He attended a preschool held down the road at our church for socialization. The preschool had a pet rabbit, Fudley. Every weekend the rabbit was sent home with one of the kids to be cared for until Monday. Well you can imagine what happened but stay with me there is a lesson to be learned.
One weekend while at our house we awoke Monday morning to find the rabbit had died! My thoughts raced at how I would explain this to my son and the school. I was totally amazed at my toddlers’ attitude. Here I am thinking of the best way to tell the school. Do I call the director, do I show up early full of remorse and tell them in person, should I tell the other children or should the teachers…? While I was racking my brain on just what to do. My son, Phillip, walked up to me with an oversized shoebox with Fudley placed caringly in the box on top of scraps of fabric. Phillip wanted to place the box in his little red wagon and told me he would pull the wagon to school that morning. As I looked at him, he held in his small hand a carrot and a stalk of celery. “Cut them please mommy,” he said.
He carefully arranged the carrot and celery sticks in the box, gathered a few dandelions to scatter around the box in the wagon. Then he told me he was almost ready to go? I kept quiet and nodded. He was running the show.
He had no fear because no one had taught him to be fearful of death!
“I have to get my Marry Jacket” he boldly pronounced! He ran upstairs and came down wearing a button up shirt and his suit jacket. In his eyes this is what you would wear to get married, so it made perfect sense. Meanwhile I had called the school so they would be prepared for the “Funeral Processional” that would be forthcoming.
As he prepared to pull the wagon to school two blocks away, he told me there was one more thing to do. He pulled the wagon in front of my flower garden and asked me to take a picture. As I prepared to snap the photo, he proclaimed “WAIT I have to put on my serious face!” He stood there with a sad face and his head bent slightly down.
So, he pulled the wagon and would not let me help. The teachers had prepared the other students and they had an actual service of about 3 minutes for Fudley they closed the box and laid it in a shallow grave they had hastily dug. They even had a popsicle stick cross with Fudley’s name to mark the grave.
LESSSONS TO BE LEARNED:
What a child sees and hears will become a part of their evolving mindset.
He had never been to a funeral or a wedding. Somewhere on TV he must have saw a funeral is the best I could figure or maybe a photo of a wedding party? But note he had no fear: he just knew what to do. Wherever he had picked up the information only told him to be sad or serious as he put it. That in itself should tell you something. Even if playing children can be influenced by what they see and hear. I believe that photo of him and Fudley still lies buried in one of the moving totes.
If you do not want your child to stress out or become a worrier, listen to the lyrics of the music you play, or the shows you watch…? A negative mindset could be groomed by how they see those around them relating to everyday life.
How you deal with circumstances will directly affect what your child believes is how they are expected to behave or respond to issues.
Example: A nonchalant mother may tend to show that there is not much to worry about. However, an uptight mom or one that is over vigilant, may have the child that will mimic her behavior. If the child gets splinter one mom will just take it out wash it and may not eve use a band aid, the other might make quite a production – tweezers, alcohol, cotton balls, a light source and of course antibiotic and band aids. They would do this with raised or panicky voice and children are very perceptive. How the mother behaves what she says and how she speaks is more important than what she does.
Reversely your parents, family members, adult friends, a teacher. may have laid the groundwork a “habit”, a mindset of anxiety in you.
In many households I see young children who drive their parents crazy – just reacting to situations like they see day in and day out. Now of course this does not hold true to all children but those who tend to worry and stress, many times can look back and see it was the way those around them dealt with situations.
Here are links to articles that may help you understand #1 is about how to avoid passing anxiety on to your kid and #2 is about how the parents stress can affect a child.
The great thing is that no matter how you were raised and what mindset you developed it can be changed!
MY FIRST DEATH EXPERIENCE
I am going to add just one true story about how my parents introduced me to death. Not something to be fear but it is just a part of life. It is ok to be sad but with a belief in God Heaven seemed like a nice place to go! Some how they got it right but back then there was not a lot of research on how this could affect me but as my mother explained as I got older it just made sense to them.
They wondered how to introduce me to death to be prepared for the inevitable of aging grandparents. Their thought was to let me see death in someone I had no connection to but that I could relate to.
Someone from my fathers’ job when I was about 6 or 7, I think, a coworker lost his daughter, only slightly older, in a tragic accident in her home. They of course were talking about it and I started to ask them questions. They decided to ask me If I wanted to go to the viewing. They gave me a choice. We talked about it and I decided to go. They were honest with minimal detail. They only told me to be on my best behavior and to ask questions after we left.
My memories were that of people dressed nicely and the girl peacefully laying in the beautiful white silk casket. Some people were sadder than others. But people were all incredibly supportive of the family.
I went, I saw death, my parents were not afraid, so I was not afraid.
This is a key point in how you may have been around either family, friends’ other caregivers or teachers that you as a child would emulate. Even the TV on in the background depicting not only the dark side of death but other health emergencies. I for on
In fact, this Hospice article has some good tips speaking to Children about death. ( I have other articles if anyone requests them.)
Next week I will spend some time on helping you understand childlike faith that somehow gets buried as we grow . Adults just make things so complicated! Like the bible says become as a little child. One Blogger explains HOW TO HAVE CHILDLIKE FAITH
Psalm 116:6-8 Amplified Bible (AMP)
6 The Lord protects the simple (childlike);
I was brought low [humbled and discouraged], and He saved me.
7 Return to your rest, O my soul,
For the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.
8 For You have rescued my life from death,
My eyes from tears,
And my feet from stumbling and falling.
WITH CHILDLIKE FAITH – cry out to Him to free you from anxiety and allow Him to free you from your chains of mental torment.