Yesterday, I had an awesome conversation with my 9-year-old daughter.
We were driving, and she was sitting in the passenger seat next to me. She was telling me how nervous she was about a camp overnight happening the following night. “I’m super anxious,” she said. “I think I’m scared.”
“What thoughts are you thinking that are making you scared?” I asked. We had a great, explorative conversation about it (a.k.a. impromptu coaching session).
And then I said, “It’s OK to be scared. Just don’t let fear and anxiety be in the driver’s seat. It can be in the passenger seat. Or the back seat. It can come along for the ride. But it doesn’t get to drive.” And somehow that analogy really stuck with her. She thanked me for it, and said she fully understood now. A few minutes later she said to me, “My anxiety is 5 cars behind us now!” Yes, she truly got it.
So—here’s where I want you to turn inward and ask yourself, “Where am I letting fear and anxiety take the wheel?” And remember, it can sit with you in the car. You can do that scary thing, and still feel fear, apprehension, and anxiety.
Just don’t let it drive. (Side note: Talking about emotions with your children is so important. We aren’t taught emotional health in our education. Many of my clients are learning about it for the first time. I encourage you to talk openly about your child’s feelings with them.)