Sunday, July 5, 2015
The Safety Bubble
This past week I realized that my kids have been in a safety bubble. For weeks now we’ve stayed close to home, most days enjoying the lazy days of summer in our neighborhood, not venturing out too far. With my husband still home looking for work, my kids have had the ability to stay with dad and not run the usual errands. They barely leave the house and they’ve been so happy, life has been pretty easy.
Then the night before a planned adventure to a small lake in the forest, my little one broke down. He was overcome with intense anxiety, crying out for me to hold him and never leave his side and begging us to stay home. He clearly didn’t want to leave home.
I popped his bubble.
It hadn’t dawned on me until then that my kids were so at ease because we have been living in a safety bubble where almost everything was predictable. The daily stress of school was gone, the constant movement of church groups, sports and activities had come to a complete stop and everything in my son’s world just got very comfortable. No wonder he has been so cheerful and compliant. He was stress free and there wasn’t anything to fight about.
I wish his stress ended there, but over the next few days with back-to-back adventures and a 4th of July party, he faced many more tough moments. I even saw it in my oldest when he was unexpectedly placed in social situations with his peers. He shut down and became very stressed. I was thankful that he was able to keep it together, but I could tell, and so could everyone else, that he was pretty upset and uncomfortable.
This week has taught me two things. First, my little one can not be homeschooled. Pulling him out of school would make his world too small and it would make it even more difficult for him to function outside our home. Second, we need to have balance. Sheltering my kids too much can have a negative impact on their ability to adapt to new situations. I don’t ever expect them to enjoy it, and I don’t want them to be constantly exposed to it, but they need to venture out of their comfort zone every once and a while to work on what’s hard for them.
Yes, we will still be the family that modifies almost everything we do so that our kids can enjoy life and we can enjoy being with them, but there is a fine line that we need to be aware of.
Balance, like everything else, whether it be food, exercise or social settings, it may not always be fun, but it’s necessary in staying healthy.