Posted by: Kathy | January 9, 2010

Ice Skating and Conquering Fear

I took The Princess ice skating today for the first time. She was invited to a birthday party at the ice rink. Had it not been for that, she still would never have been ice skating. I can’t ice skate. I don’t want to know how to ice skate. It scares the… Well, it scares me. Slick surface while on blades of steel (or whatever they’re made from). No thank you.

However, when you’re child is invited to do something and wants to try it, you can’t let your fear show. This would be the ultimate example of NOT transferring your own baggage to your child. Believe me, I’ve got plenty of baggage. It’s just not fair to share it with her.

Ironically, Maggie had fears of her own. We had tears last night as she lay in bed thinking through the next day. She’s an over-thinker (have no idea where she gets that from – really). Therefore, she was thinking about how hard it was going to be to try something new. What if she couldn’t do it? What if she fell? What if her friends left her behind? All those normal 7 year old fears. I held her while she cried and reminded her that I would be right there. No, I couldn’t hold her hand on the rink (’cause there was NO way Mommy was getting out there), but I would be there cheering her on. And, if she didn’t want to skate, she could just watch. I would support her decision either way.

We got to the rink, got the skates on – not a small feat by the way – and it was time to try. This is her “Oh my goodness I’m so not sure about this but Mommy wants to take a picture face.”

She got out onto the rink and went about two feet. The whole time holding on with a death grip to the wall.

After the venture of 2 feet, she scurried (as well as she could on ice) back to the entrance and got off the rink. “I can’t do it. It’s too hard,” said she with a look of panic on her face. This is where some serious parenting comes in. I had two options. I could tell her to get her rear back out on the rink and try since she didn’t even go that far, OR I could nod understandably and support her decision. I chose the latter.

I had told her the night before that I would be there for her. That means being there for her whatever her decision may be. I want her to know that I will ALWAYS ALWAYS love her and support her. This may not seem like a huge thing. This is just ice skating. But is it? Every time I support her decision making and am there for her, I’m building a pattern of behavior in our relationship. She can trust me to be there – no matter what. When she’s seven, it’s that I’ll be there while she’s ice skating. When she’s eight, it may be that I’m there when she’s having to make a tough decision about a friendship. When she’s a teenager, those circumstances and decisions are going to be harder and more life changing. I want her to know I’m there. ALWAYS. And she’s not going to know that then, if I’m not right now. While she’s ice skating. When she’s seven.

We walked around outside the rink a little bit letting her get more comfortable in the skates. Her friends, one by one, ventured out onto the rink and stayed out there. Here’s what this momma knows. Peer pressure works. I didn’t have to be the heavy. She was going to want to join in the fun. And, she did.

The first time around, I walked with her as far as I could. I couldn’t reach her through the glass. I couldn’t even hear her through the glass. But, I was there. And, that’s all she needed. She needed to know I was there. Supporting her, no matter what.

Once she made it around the rink the first time, she came off grinning and telling me she loved it. After our time in the party room (for the birthday), she got on the ice and never looked back. She was one of the last people off. She had conquered her fear. I just got to be there, stand to the side, and watch the confidence bloom.

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