Sleep in Peace with a side of Grace
Out of the blue, my daughter, who shares a room with her brother, is scared of the dark.
Or does she really just want to keep playing and reading in her bed when its lights out?
She's been around for five years and has never said she was scared of going to bed.
Last night she didn't want to turn off the hall light because she declared she was afraid. We insisted, so she ran down our ever so short hallway with her eyes closed. My husband kindly quipped that if her eyes were closed she would be in the dark any way.
Do you give your child a nightlight when they say they are scared of the dark or do you make them work through the fear?
I'm new. My kids are young and most of the time we're totally winging it because we have no earthly idea what we're doing. So our approaches lack consistency and are sometimes ditched halfway through the process because we realize they make no sense and need some serious verbal editing.
I do what comes naturally, I try to talk her off the ledge like she's 25 versus 5.
This just in: That actually does not work.
Then I realize she's a child and tell her that she is the light in the dark and there is nothing to be afraid of. "God is within you and all around you- you are the light."
Still not the answer she is seeking.
Apparently she's looking for something else and we have yet to come up with the solution.
However, I think she has the solution.
She wants to keep the hall light on all night and then she won't be afraid.
That band-aid is going to cost me with the utility company plus, I don't want that light shining on me all night long.
Get the child a night light! Can I not just understand where she is coming from and not make it some clinical, psychological thing? Like if I get her a night light now, will she be sleeping with a distraction the rest of her days?
I remember being scared of the dark when I was little and running down my grandparents so-not-long hallway that seemed like a mile. I could feel the boogie man behind me and I ran faster. I have no clue how I overcame that fear.
Sometimes in the stillness of the dark, I still get a little freaked and tell myself that I am the light, God is there, yada yada yada. I 've also learned to thank the fear instead of push it down, but seriously, how do you explain this to a child? Getting from A to K (I'm only 39 so I assume Z is a ways off) is going to take some soul-searching and remembering what it felt like to be in her shoes.
When I was a child, I was simply seeking the peace and comfort that I felt in my mother's womb. It was so cozy in there and I was always with someone. Then we get born and have to face the reality that we are our own beings and that can feel super lonely, scary and like we are in the dark. That can be something to grapple with on this journey and it might take longer than a minute to work it out.
I read, 'Bringing up Bebe' by Pamela Drunkerman and she talked about how my generation of people are the most professionally counseled people ever. We want to talk about it, delve in and wallow in the imperfections of our parents and therefore over parent our own children. We simply don't like for our kids to feel discomfort and try to make it all better all of the time. They call this phenomena (or lack there of), helicopter parenting.
I am certainly not a helicopter parent.
I don't hover...physically.
But I might be an emotional hover craft.
Am I simply uncomfortable with my sweet girl's discomfort and trying to make it all better really fast so we can just be in peace?
I hate band-aids. I like to get to the root and make it go away as quickly as possible. After all, most things can be taken care of instantly with the touch of a screen, a Google search and a like of page on Facebook.
But what if there is power in this being a journey and not the click of the 'pay now' button?
Can I be still and peaceful as my child learns her way in this world?
Can I just get the girl a new night light so she can sleep peace?
Sometimes I just need to let go of what I think is acceptable and seek to understand where this child is coming from. Age five seems like it never happened for me, but when I remember that she is five, not 55, shining a little light for her isn't such a big deal.
I'm learning something from the 4 Acts of Love about the practice Radical Hospitality:
Be unconditional: Instead of judging people, we will practice Radical Hospitality—“You’re welcome just as you are.”
So I guess offering my child peace, a nightlight, and the chance to revisit the warmth of the womb on occasion isn't so bad.