Lessons From a Scared Kitten (Part 2)
This little kitty we have (“Baby”) is teaching me lots about the nervous system. If you didn’t read my first post about our kitten, you can read it in Part 1.
Baby has become very playful and confident since spending most of her time in one room (the whole house was too big and scary for her at first). Since being in one room she is far more interactive with us, comes to us for cuddles, and doesn’t get scared when our hands come towards her to pet her or pick her up.
So, we have graduated to giving her times during the day to roam the whole house. HOWEVER, as soon as she is in the larger environment, she is scared of us again. She cowers under the Christmas tree and is scared of our hands.
This, again, reminds me of our kids’ nervous systems. They can seem to function fine in their bedrooms but as soon as they come out of their bedrooms they are overwhelmed. OR they are ok at home but as soon as they get to school or as soon as they are out in public their systems become overwhelmed and their pain flares. OR they are ok for 15 minutes but all of a sudden everything becomes too much. New environments bring extra stimulus and anxiety and the nervous system goes on high alert again. Things that once felt safe no longer feel safe. As a parent, it is common to think, “You were fine 10 minutes ago, what is the problem?”
Baby steps and patience seems to be the answer, once again. Just because your child has become used to something in one environment doesn’t necessarily mean they will be ok with it in another environment. Or just because they are fine for 15 min doesn’t mean they will be able to handle it for 30.
Have patience, take baby steps, and grow their capacity incrementally. That is what we need to do with Baby.
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