It seems like every Tom, Dick, and Sally deem it appropriate to comment on my child’s outward appearance. “Oh, I love her outfit.” “Oh, she’s so adorable.” “Oh, the mere sight of your child’s unprecedented beauty has been a profound life altering experience for me.” I don’t understand why people can’t just mind their own business and stop gawking. Geez, so many looky-loo's.
Lately, Emi has been manifesting signs of stranger anxiety. She recoils when strangers approach. I’m not sure why this happens as neither nature nor nurture can be attributed to such behavior, I think.
It becomes difficult to teach your children to conquer this type of anxiety, especially when you, yourself, harbor the same debilitating phobia. It’s not that I dislike people. I’m quite fond of them actually. I live with some. I only fear unfamiliar people with the potential to express discontent toward me. Unfortunately, occurrences of Emi’s reluctance toward strangers exacerbates my own phobia, causing me to panic and flee many social situations. However, when it comes to teaching your children life lessons, I’ve found you can often utilize what doctors might refer to as “self afflicting delusions” to help your children overcome their worst fears.
Whenever a stranger approaches and I feel Emi retreating behind my legs, instead of fleeing or forcing myself to interact, I treat it as an opportunity to expose Emi to her fears. I simply pick her up, place her in front of me, and I take five steps back. I then quickly throw the stranger a bag of Emi’s favorite crackers, and while avoiding eye contact, I instruct that person to offer a cracker to Emi.
So far, this has caused more confusion and embarrassment for all parties involved. But I think success is just around the corner and only requires a more succinct explanation on my part. As a committed and loving parent, I am, of course, willing to put forth the necessary patience and perseverance required to get it right…for the sake of my child.
Happy New Year!!
Tyler H is a guest blogger and father to Emi. The Three Bay B Chicks have asked him to shed light on a Dad’s point of view under the stern supervision of his loving wife. If you have a question for Ask A Dad, feel free to submit it in the comments section. The Three Bay B Chicks are not responsible for Tyler's "advice."