There are so many ways for our children to show their bravery. Bravery is not being fearless. Bravery is experiencing fear and moving through it. This morning one of my children has gone on a school camp, for a week, interstate, on a plane, for the first time... They are 11.
I was at school this morning at 6am, with over 60 other children and their parents. Some of the children were pumped, one hopped onto the bus without a sideway glance at their parents. Some of them were accompanied to the bus by their parents, and some of them made do with a quick last minute cuddle before leaving the hall. Some of them were unconcerned leading up to the day, and some have had significant anxiety.
Before the event my child went on an emotional roller coaster. One day it was, "I don't want to go.' The next day it was 'I cant wait to go'. They had questions, how fast does the plane fly? What if I crash? What does it feel like when the plane takes off? What if no-one wants to watch what I want on TV? Who will be in my group? Who am I going to sit next to on the plane? What do I do when I miss you?
As a parent I listened, I helped him look up answers, I told about about the Australian safety record and that the pilot wanted to get home safely and would make sure they didn't crash. I did not have all the answers, and the school did not provide all the answers either. In these cases I could reassure him that even if things didn't turn out how he wanted them, it would be OK, he would manage. I stood by while he rode his roller coaster. It was my job not to hop on that roller coaster with him, but to reassure him that he would be OK whilst on the ride.
Seven ways you can encourage your child to be brave.
There is no question that school camps can provoke anxiety, to varying degrees in children. It also provides a wonderful experience for them to grow, develop resilience and create wonderful memories.
If you are still concerned about your child and how they will cope, seeing a mental health professional, at least for a session or two is a worthwhile investment.
* My aim is for these posts is meant to useful, interesting and/or inspiring. They are not designed to be used for therapy.. If you are experiencing stress please contact your GP or mental health professional.
Kim Dunn is a Child Psychologist and Founder of Positive Young Minds.