Michael has started working with our Psycho Educator to battle his fears of the monsters that are in his room at night, in our room, and apparently go and hide out in my office. No, we never talked about monsters to him, and yes, he has a colorful imagination. I wonder where he gets that from. 🙂 But I have to say I am impressed with what she is trying to do with him. This time, as all other attempts to get him over his fears of going to bed alone have eventually failed and made the problem worse, she is putting the control back in his hands. Today they started trouble shooting .She had him draw the monsters or try to. That didn’t work so well as Michael’s drawing and writing skills are rudimentary at best, so she went to the next best thing. She pulled out her pictures of cartoon like monsters. Next Michael was asked to draw silly things on them. He was told to make them look funny. This was both successful and a bit of a challenge for him, as he started drawing some vulgar things as his tiredness took over, but no matter. The seed was planted, and “our homework” for next week is to draw silly happy things on the monsters so they will not be so threatening to him. This could work. He is at least humoring me and trying. Up to now there has been sadness and panic on Michael’s part about bedtime, combined with a stubbornness that he will sleep alone when he is thirty-one years old. You can see my dilemma.
I am interested to try this, and both myself and the Psycho Educator have assured Michael that he will gradually transition to sleeping on his own slowly and when he feels fully ready. The other times it happened in a span of two months and then the regression was worse. I am proud of how he is willing to try, and of course I am showing him we are all behind him.
This process of drawing and monsters and make believe, reminds me very much of my fears as a child. I can honestly say I know where he gets his vivid imagination. I too once saw monsters prancing around like I now do characters, though I knew then and now, that they were not real and would not hurt me. Pretend play was so much fun to do alone and with my brother. We even put on plays and variety shows with music for our parents and with our friends on the street. They are some of the best memories I have of childhood. While we are dealing with Michael’s nocturnal fears, I am slowly trying to channel his creative energies into playing music which he loves to do, and acting, which his father and I agree he will be a natural at once his anxieties and fears abate a little. His school has great theater and art extra curricular activities for the kids, and I hope to see him channeling his energy, both happy and scary, into that. I know once he does that, his life will get easier.
Exceptional Moms, how do your Exceptional Children handle the real and pretend monsters in their lives? How do you handle yours? I find that by setting a good example of handling my own fears, real and imagined, and sharing with Michael how creative outlets can help, that he is slowly starting to come around and move through his own anxieties and fears of things in life. Remember, be honest, listen to what is being said and what their body language is telling you, and be willing to keep an open mind to confront all obstacles your child and you face. Until next time.