My Baby Girl came home and told me she didn’t want to go on the school residential (a week away doing adventure things.) She couldn’t really give me any reason – very vague responses about how people were sick on the bus last time, how they made her stand in the rain (well, honey you live in England – no changing that!!!), how she won’t like the food and how she doesn’t like waking up without us.
I have to book her place and start paying for it soon. I know that she has food issues and I know that she doesn’t like people being sick. But I also know that she is a bit of an attention seeking drama queen. I also know that come closer to the time, when everyone is getting excited, she will regret her decision and that spending a week in school without anyone from her year, she will be devastated.
So I had to think about how to react to this and plan my approach – very carefully.
I got her to join me on the couch for a bit of mother-daughter talk. I told her that I am very, very sorry and I hope that she can forgive me. I said that we should have been taking her aversion to food and sick people more seriously and that we need to start the Anxiety Program that we had used on Complicated Boy (see Previous Blog). I apologised to her for pushing her to become more independent, grown up and responsible, because this had obviously made her anxious. I gave her a big hug and begged her forgiveness.
She looked a little surprised, but agreed that she would like to do the Anxiety Program.
I then went on to say that I was happy for her not to go on the school residential and that I would go in to the school and tell her teacher and the head teacher that she wasn’t grown up enough to be away from us.
Her face was a picture!!
I then went on to say that as she was so anxious, she shouldn’t walk around the shops with her friend on her own anymore, or she shouldn’t stay home by herself when I drop Complicated Boy at Kung Fu and she shouldn’t go to the park across the road by herself.
OH MY HER FACE!!!! She couldn’t speak, she was so shocked.
We then got out the worksheets and started working on the Anxiety Program and I could see her brain whirring.
Two days later, and after continuing with the Anxiety Program, she asked to have another chat. So I sat and listened.
She had decided that yes the Anxiety Program was going to be good and will help (yes – I agreed). But she was grown up and independent and could go on the residential.
If I could have jumped up and down on the couch, without giving away my evil plan, I would of!
She also said that she was grown up and independent enough to do things on her own and she hoped that I would agree with her, now she was going on the residential.
I said of course, she had proved by being sensible and thinking things through, that she was grown up enough to be on her own.
Do I feel guilty for manipulating my daughter? That would be a definite NO! I am glad that she has decided she wants to do the Anxiety Program. Do I think she is truly anxious child, like Complicated Boy? No, not really, I have seen a truly anxious child curled up in a ball sobbing his heart out. I think for my Baby Girl, it is just stubbornness and attention seeking, but I know that the program will provide her with that attention in a good way and will give her life skills that will help her in the future.
So feeling a bit chuffed with myself – love it when an evil plan comes together. Never underestimate your mother, sweet Baby Girl – I can out girl you any day!