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Our Home Ed Stories

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A reminder for myself for the bad days

Posted by EmmaH on March 20, 2014 at 1:30 PM

My 4th child has always been a challenge. For the first six weeks of his life he screamed. Constantly. It has been up and down since then, with periods of relative calm and others that are the stuff of nightmares.


As I get to know him and understand him better, more and more I see a little boy who is vibrant, full of life and bursting with intelligence. He is also a sensitive little soul: the radio is too loud, the light is too bright, the clothes are too tickley. The most recent fact I have discovered about him is that he is a real introvert, and doesn't do well with new people and new situations until he has checked it all out and come to terms with it in his mind. This discovery came as something of a shock to me, because at home he is my loudest.


Today we went to the dentist. My kiddo got more and more worked up starting from half an hour before leaving the house. He refused to get out of the car. He had to be carried inside. He stood outside the door of the consultation room whilst the others were examined. When I suggested sitting on the chair as well he almost lost control and when we left he hugged me tight with his head tucked in my shoulder.


I told the dentist that this is just my little boy. That he is shy. That I am confident over the course of time one day he will just hop up on that chair cheerfully and open his mouth. We have to go regularly for the others so he will get used to it. The dentist, having spent all of 5 minutes with us pronounced, 'This is temper'. He said it like this is a discipline issue. Like I should be forcing my child into submission. Funny how others view things, isn't it? And so quick to judge.

Just like most parents I want well behaved children. More so because I have so many of them and because we spend all our time together. But in the long run I don't think forcing my children to comply with my wishes will produce the desired results. I am certain that gentleness and understanding will win the battle in the end. And for the time being that means the dentist will have to wait. So be it.

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Reply big mamma frog
1:40 PM on August 6, 2014 
Sounds not dissimilar to my first child lol.

We had similar experience with shoe shops and hairdressers and we spent a lot of birthday parties in the carpark or eating cake in the toilets! As a toddler we would even fit him for new shoes when he was asleep - and that takes quite a bit of skill lol.

Fwiw I learned to not push too much in situations where he wasn't comfortable and not to always expect him to do what other people's children did, particularly if, in the whole scheme of things, it was unimportant stuff. When you put it into perspective, most of what other people's children do is unimportant stuff! I learned when to 'pick my battles' and learned when a gentle nudge was appropriate to help him overcome his fears. I learned to cut his hair at home :)

Now, years on, you really wouldn't recognise him as the same child. He's had the chance to grow into his own skin, to find out his own interests and skills, and to develop into a confident young person. He loves getting preened at my hairdressers, but it is costing me a fortune!

If you can, find another dentist, one who will be more patient and understanding and explain to them that your child is fearful. Perhaps your son can just visit that dentist a few times without having any examination or treatment, just to familiarise themselves with the environment. A good dentist will understand. There are lots of adults who are terrified of dentists so it's hardly unusual!
Reply Still Waters
4:48 PM on June 28, 2014 
Have you thought about doing social stories with him as regards the dentist?
I used to do them when my kids where younger but recently had to start doing them again when my son needed play therapy it is so much easier to do them now as we do everything on his ipad collect photos from the building, then the door, working towards the room thats going to be used you can add in more or leave bits out, pull out the stories daily. use them whiles in the car or any spare moment and hopefully the small fears that are insumountable me be less stressfull
Reply Anne B
5:33 AM on March 22, 2014 
Totally agree with you, Emma, and that sort of sensory oversensitivity often goes with being VERY bright. So does the frustration, which we had described as being given a Porsche and then made to only drive at 10mph.

You may well be in for an interesting few years, but you will also get to see the world in an entirely different way. So grow a thick skin, carry on doing what YOU know to be right... and know there are plenty here who are reading this and saying oh, yes, I remember that...
Reply Nicola
12:39 PM on March 21, 2014 
This brings back memories. My DS was exactly the same with the dentist when he was small. Luckily, our dentist is a lovely person and would just chat to him until he eventually agreed to sit in the chair, and then, over a long time period, to let the dentist look in his mouth. And now he has even managed to cope with having an orthodontist fiddle about in his mouth. The orthodontist has been brilliant too, explained everything,was really relaxed with him, and started with a partial brace to let him get used to the idea. Anyway, the point of this was to let you know that, there is plenty of time for him to get around to the idea of letting the dentist look at him, don't worry.
Reply Mandy
12:23 PM on March 21, 2014 
Hi Emma, thanks for sharing this blog post because it is good to know that we are not alone.

I completely understand the sense that we are on a voyage of discovery. I learn something new about Captain (5) all the time, either something enlightening about his existing character or a change in his nature, having reached some internal checkpoint/decision making crux. Two new things we uncovered recently surprised us, a wish to play the recorder and a new, emerging, genuine desire to interact with more and more other children his age. We were delighted with both of those. I fundamentally believe that only HE gives me the opportunity of truly getting to know him, school would have become an insurmountable barrier.

However, there are other things that are much more difficult and the dentist is really a tough one. A practical step that someone mentioned to me in passing was to book the first appointment of the day or the afternoon. This would helpfully cut down the anxious waiting time. The second is to find a dentist that is accustomed to children with anxiety (and just doesn't say they are).

Others are quick to judge, pointing out behavioural problems as parenting problems. The only way forward for us is to persevere, gently work with our children and trust that in time, all will be well. I think children can gain an immense sense of confidence from the clear recognition that their parents love them and are trying to create a safe and loving environment for them. That is not to say I am discounting discipline, I just don't think it will yield the same results for my particular child.

My greatest comfort though comes from reading posts where other parents with older children tell us not to worry, they are still young yet and so much can change over the next few transformational years.

Best Wishes, Mandy