Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Raising A Cautious Child

LMS riding her bike at the park- doesn't she coordinate nicely? 
The shirt is a cute one from Crazy 8.

I've realized LMS is quite cautious. I'm not sure why it took so long for that to finally connect and make an impact in my consciousness, but it did. Once I acknowledged it, I started wandering why she's so cautious. We are always very encouraging and positive, especially when she tries new things. Shouldn't that give her the confidence she needs?

As I continued thinking about it, I sifted through memories from my childhood, and I realized that she gets it from me. As a child, I was also super-cautious.

I missed out on a trip to the corner market with my cousins while staying at the cabin at the lake because I was too scared to make the short trip (despite my mom giving me the ok). The cabin was sold not long after and I never had a similar opportunity.

I had a friend who lived a few houses down, and across the street, but I think I only went there once or twice because I was too scared to walk there.

My mom let us ride our bikes to the library, but I only went once or twice with my older brother, again because I was too scared.

Somewhere along the way I started overcoming the fear and in fourth and fifth grade I rode my bike the two miles to school every day with my sister and a couple friends we picked up along the way. (On the road- no sidewalks! but that's another post for another day- I've been working on it for awhile now.)

Junior high brought a lot of new experiences and I continued to gain confidence as I experienced new things in high school, college, on my mission, and beyond. Not to say they weren't still scary, but at least I did them instead of avoiding them like I did in elementary school.


There are still some things I'm cautious about (I don't love heights, for example), but I make the effort to try new things, even if they're out of my comfort zone.

LMS has shown a lot of caution when skiing, ice skating, swimming, and riding her bike.

We have pictures of her when she was about a year and a half old, being held by Mr M in the pool, and she's got a death grip around his neck. She's taken lessons every summer since she was 4, and can swim quite well, but it's taken a LOT of encouragement from her instructors and me and one-on-one time with me in the water for her to feel more confident.

She's taken ice skating lessons, but would rather hold on to one of us or a stack of buckets because  she's afraid of falling.

She's had two years of skiing lessons and has the skills, yet she just doesn't think she can do it- it's too scary and she doesn't want to fall.

She's been perfectly content to keep using her walking bike without the pedals, thankyouverymuch. We ride bikes with friends at the park and they all use pedals, but she did a pretty good job of keeping up with them and didn't think she needed the pedals.


I learned to ice skate as a teenager and I took ski classes in college, so I don't have a point of reference for learning those at a young age.

As I've recognized her reluctance to do things, I've tried not to push too much. We haven't done skating lessons again because she didn't truly enjoy it. She does like skiing and swimming once she gets out there, so we've continued taking lessons in those areas. And we waited till she said she was ready for pedals before putting them on (we bought her a walking bike two years ago specifically designed to be used with and without pedals). I kept asking her if she wanted them back on and she kept saying no. Then a couple weeks ago, she came to me and said she wanted to try the pedals. I asked if she was sure, because once I put them on, they weren't coming back off. She said ok, and on they went. It's taken a little practice, but now she's confident and ready for a bigger bike.


Are we truly encouraging her, or are we pushing her to try new things too soon? Are we causing more problems this way, or helping her overcome her cautiousness?


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