Loading...
BYH: To the Confederates of the civil war. Today if they were in power there would be no race problems, or issues today....

Too much discussion can serve to validate child’s invalid fears

JohnRosemondGDR_177.jpg

John Rosemond

Loading…

John Rosemond

Sunday, February 11, 2018

A true story: When my daughter, Amy, was a preteen, she became anxious about going to sleep because of fears of dying in the middle of the night. When I tucked her in (I was her preferred tucker-inner), she would tell me, usually tearfully, that she didn’t want to go to sleep for fear of never waking up.

As a good daddy is supposed to do, I would remain in her bedroom, explaining and reassuring, upward of 30 minutes until she gave the “all clear.” Sometimes, however, my sleep therapy wouldn’t stick, in which case she’d wake me up in the wee hours of the morning to tell me that her anxiety disorder with obsessive-compulsive and phobic features (ADOCPF) was preventing her from sleeping. I eventually figured out that I was spending four to six hours a week trying to talk her out of being sleep-phobic and belatedly realized that my well-chosen words weren’t working. In fact, her fears seemed to be worsening, which strongly implied — horror of horrors — that I wasn’t a parenting expert after all.

Shortly thereafter, I figured out that her condition was worsening not because I had yet to figure out the magic words that would restore her mental health, but because I was talking at all. My talk-talk-talking effectively validated her fears. Why, pray tell, would I be talking at all if her fears didn’t deserve a lot of serious attention?

So, I stopped talking. The next time Amy told me, tearfully, that she was afraid of going to sleep, I said, “Yeah, I know. That sort of fear is not unusual at your age. I’ve said all I have to say, Amos. I don’t have anything to add. You’re going to have to either learn to live with it or put an end to it. I’m not helping, obviously. So, my princess, I love you (kiss, kiss). See you in the morning!” Exit Daddy, stage left.

Amy was none too happy with that turn of events. She continued trying to engage me in her fears for a week or so. She would begin bawling as I left her room, for example. She may have even yelled, “You’ll be sorry if I’m dead in the morning!” Children are, after all, soap opera factories. I, however, stayed the course. It was not an easy thing to do. Had I abandoned my child? Was I a covert sadist, a sociopath even? Parental self-doubt is a deceptive thing.

Several weeks passed before I noticed that Amy’s demons seemed to have released their grip on her. When I tucked her in, she made no attempt to get me to hang around, talking in vain. It occurred to me that the very thing no psychologist-in-good-standing would recommend had been key to Amy’s recovery.

That experience led me to begin recommending to other parents my “no-talking cure” for childhood fears. They had, I would point out, said everything there was to say about the fears in question. They were repeating themselves as if their children were dense. They were on a constant search for magic words that don’t exist. Furthermore, and unwittingly so, their talk-talk-talking was verifying that the child’s fears were serious, deserving therefore of much parental consternation and, therefore, ever more talk-talk-talking. And around and around they went, until they stopped talking.

Every time I’ve recommended my new, amazing, ironic and most peculiar cure for ADOCPF — obsessive fears of all sorts, mind you — it worked. And it continues to work to this day, which is one reason of many why I do not believe — with rare exception — that young children should be allowed to engage in one-on-one (as in, private) conversations with therapists. Having been trained to talk to children, I don’t. In the case of irrational anxieties/fears, said conversations are likely to lend significance to something that is nothing more than a product of a child’s rather overactive and random imagination. Contrary to the standard (and unproven) psychological narrative, the fears in question do not represent “issues” in a child’s life that said child cannot safely express or lacks the words with which to express. They are literally meaningless. Therefore, the less attention they are given, the better.

Contact family psychologist John Rosemond at his websites, www.johnrosemond.com or www.parentguru.com.

 

 

 

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Look

January 23, 2019

For the last twelve years, North Carolina has been home to an authentic restaurant blending American and Mexican food as well as serving a variety of delicious tequilas. Located in Raleigh, Wilson, Tarboro and Apex, La Rancherita Grill & Tequila Bar now has found a home in Greenville at 3130…

Pastor Quesadilla-20190110_155624.jpg

January 20, 2019

A shout out to Dr. John Morrow who is retiring as Pitt County’s Health Director. I loved the tribute Brian Floyd, President of Vidant Medical Center wrote about our “community’s doctor” last month (December 23) on the Reflector Opinion page. If you were away for the holidays…

Kolasa, Kathy

January 18, 2019

AYDEN — Rudy Robinson was a builder in life.

He built and rebuilt homes. He restored buildings and put businesses in them.

He operated several businesses that brought him and his family financial success. He rented to others, both commercially and residentially. He was adept at it. He worked…

0116-oakley-rudy.jpg

January 16, 2019

Q I form oxalate stones. The only advice I had been given was to drink lots of water and I do drink about a gallon a day. A friend told me I should pay attention to the oxalate content of food. I really like grain products but have been told they might be giving me troubles. What do I need to know?…

Kolasa, Kathy

January 13, 2019

While I have been traveling up and down North Carolina’s roads in search of local eateries, UNC Law School professor Gene Nichol has been traveling the same roads looking for something else.

I was gathering material for my book, “North Carolina’s Roadside Eateries,” and…

DGMartin

January 13, 2019

The first mistake was opening the refrigerator door. I opened it silently, but it emits a silent sound unknown to science that only cats can hear. From under the bedcovers at the other end of the house. And they do not need to walk or run to the refrigerator to inspect what I'm doing. One second,…

JimMullen

January 11, 2019

As I write this review, it’s still up in the air whether Kevin Hart will host this year’s Academy Awards. He was picked because he’s funny, he’s a performer of color, and his star was on the ascendance.

But someone dug up old comments by Hart that were homophobic. The…

Upside

January 11, 2019

ARBA — Sybil Thomas is not your average “little old lady.”

Rather than bemoaning the aging process, she has walked right up to it, looked it dead in the eye and given it an impish wink.

Thomas celebrated her 100th birthday Dec. 30, surrounded by friends and family at Hull Road…

0109-sybil2.jpg

January 09, 2019

 

Q: I don’t think my mom ever used anything other than salt, pepper, and cinnamon to flavor food. She said it was silly and expensive to a container and then use only ¼ teaspoon. I am intrigued by the possibility that some herbs might be helpful in controlling inflammation. Can…

Kolasa, Kathy

January 06, 2019

It was in 1983 that parents told leaders of the Diocese of Lafayette, Louisiana, west of New Orleans, that Father Gilbert Gauthe had molested their sons.

Dominos started falling. The bishop offered secret settlements to nine families — but one refused to remain silent.

The rest is a long,…

Terry Mattingly
121 stories in Look. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 13
        Next Page»   Last Page»