What would you have done? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 05-07-2002, 09:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Today my friend and I took our kids to the park as we do every week. We went to a place called Fairytale Town which is a very fun place for young kids with slides and safe objects to climb on.
Today they were also having puppet shows in the children's theatre so we attended. My ds who is 3.9 yo was fine until they dimmed the lights and a puppet appeared on the small stage followed by an introduction over the speaker system. At this point he turned to me with a look of fear and began tearing up and said: "Mama, I don't want to watch the puppet show!" Followed by sobbing. Well, I tried to wait a few moments but decided to get up and wait outside for our friends to finish the show. Afterward, I was talking to my friend about it and she said that she would have kept him in there and told him to be quiet.
I said there was absolutely no way I would have kept him in there if he was afraid. She said he needs to learn to cope with situations and he won't learn to do that if I always take him out of the problem situation. I told her I don't care if he never learns to cope with puppet shows! Am I wrong to see it as cruelty to keep my son in a situation where he is clearly frightened? I have to admit, I'll never be the type to say: "Buck up, son. Be a man!"
Well, my friend and I, being good friends, decided to agree to disagree and we changed the subject. What would you have done?
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#2 of 10 Old 05-07-2002, 10:16 PM
 
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I would have done the same. It's your kid, you know best. I don't see the point in scaring them like that!
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#3 of 10 Old 05-07-2002, 10:55 PM
 
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What! I just don't get the "buck up and be strong" mentality people take with their kids. They're kids for chrissake...and he was scared. There is no reason for him to have to sit there and be frightened when you have the ability to remove him from the situation. I would have done the same as you, marilyn.

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#4 of 10 Old 05-07-2002, 11:56 PM
 
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I'd have taken him out immediately too. If you don't respond to your child's fears, he'll stop voicing them to you. Then you'll loose an important connection with him because he won't be able to trust you anymore. By responding to his fears, you are teaching him to identify what he is feeling and respond appropriately. You did well, I think!
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#5 of 10 Old 05-08-2002, 12:23 AM
 
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I think you did the right thing. What I would have done as well would have been to try to find a way to help my child cope with the scary situation so that it can be fun again. Like maybe watching the puppet show from farther away where it is not so loud. But, of course, if it's too scary, then it's just too scary.
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#6 of 10 Old 05-08-2002, 12:47 AM
 
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Well, I think you can see by everyone's respons that trusting your own judgement as a mother is best - tuned into your child and gave him a lesson in trust. Now he knows if he's scared, you will help guide him.
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#7 of 10 Old 05-08-2002, 11:49 AM
 
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Personally, (and I don't know if you did this or not) I would have done some fast explaining to him about what was going on when the lights dimmed and puppets came out. Sometimes we assume our kids know what it means to "watch a puppet show" or some other thing, but when it actually happens they are caught off guard and startled. I also always try to talk out their fears (and other emotions) to give them a vocabulary to use. "Oh, I bet that surprised you when the lights went off, you probably weren't expecting that". If the explanations and labels don't allow him to get more comfortable then I would remove him, but then I would also do a lot of talking and make a point to get some books from the library about puppet shows and about fear, and continue the conversation so he doesn't get a bad association with the situation. Of course it doesn't matter if he turns out to not like puppet shows, but you also want to make sure he's working through his fears.
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#8 of 10 Old 05-09-2002, 01:05 AM
 
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I would have, and actually have, done the same thing. My 3 yr old dd is scared of things like that, too. Kind of ironic, but just a few weeks ago we went to a puppet show that was similar to what you described. Same reaction and I took her out. We sat down and I took off my shoe and pulled off my sock, got my Mr. Sharpie out of my purse, made a face and showed her what a puppet was. Maybe she just really wanted me to put my stinky shoe back on, but once she saw what puppets are, she wasn't scared. The dark freaked her out though, so we finished watching by the door.
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#9 of 10 Old 05-09-2002, 01:12 AM
 
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I agree with you removing your child. I have found with my son that when he was younger (3-4) he was scared of the dark, movies, etc.... But given the time and not forced into anything and now he is a trooper about most things, dark included.

You give your children enough security and eventually they learn that they are fine and don't need it as much.

Trust your instincts Mama.....
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#10 of 10 Old 05-09-2002, 01:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone for sharing your insight. I really appreciate the thoughtful suggestions too. I like the idea of getting books about puppets and addressing fears in a positive reassuring way.
I needed the reminder that I know my son best and the "buck-up" stratedgy just doesn't work with him. He's always been a sensitive boy and where others might view this as manipulation I understand it as genuine fear and I am cautious not to push a new experience on him if he isn't comfortable. The funny thing is, he really likes puppets! In fact, he was working me to buy him this raccoon puppet at the nature store at the outrageous price of $55 bucks. It's still at the store so I don't think it was the puppets but more likely the darkness and overhead speaker system. It's nice to know that I'm not the only one who would get up and leave if my child was upset. Marilyn
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