Thursday, September 15, 2016

Fighting Fears

My seven-year-old started crying whenever we asked him to take bath. He would want me to sit in the adjoining bedroom. This, after two years of taking bath by himself!

Used to the independence of not having to monitor his bath, I fought against his tears and pleas. Anger, cajoling, indifference, nothing worked.

And then I slowly found the reason. A Tamil movie, 'Kanchana', which I thought was a comedy and allowed him to watch in his friend's place, turned out to be a horror-comedy. The ghost comes in the bathroom, and hence his fear!

I tried to fight it through logic. I showed him the pictures of the actor and also how I found him handsome. I told him other stories to distract him. I even made him say Hanuman Chalisa and other slokas.

But while the lip moved, while the ears heard, while the eyes saw, the mind kept returning to the image that had caused the fear in the first place.

This couldn't go on! Bath sessions were becoming a melt down time - too much water in his eyes!

So then, I sat with him in the puja room. I told him to focus on his breath and slowly painted a scene with greenery and lake and serenity. I don't remember how long it took, but the Drama Before the Bath stopped and calmness returned.

It is never too early to teach children to focus on their breathing to deal with troubles of any kind. Solutions may not present themselves in any miraculous fashion. But they will be less stressed about it and that in itself may resolve half the problems.

Soon to follow: Armed Against Anger.
Also read:  The Child-Like Mind
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