The Day Aj Veered Off, His Anxiety and A new Program Causing Fear

Parenting in general isn’t an easy task, I would never tell someone parenting is easy. As I watch my sister journey into her third trimester of pregnancy I am not telling her it’s going to be an easy task to be a parent, she knows already. Watching me with three kids shows that parenting requires a crazy amount of energy at times, dedication, motivation and the right attitude to make a joke about it. I mean, without a sense of humor, parenting can be quite challenging. One area that I have zero sense of humor is anxiety, having struggled with it my whole life it’s not easy watching my middle child struggle with it at age six.

I keep forgetting that Aj has anxiety because he has come so far from that mood swinging child that the topic of anxiety seems to be something that is left in the back of my mind. The other day Aj’s anxiety kicked in high gear and since it’s something I am all too familiar with for my own self, I was right on the ball to fix it.

Aj was sent to school a few weeks ago with a permission slip for this program that our local school and town library does. Since Aj was sent to school with the form, he assumed that the program was starting that particular day and as his teacher brought kids out to be picked up by parents Mister Aj veered off into the bus line all ready to hop on and go to this program. It was rather shocking to teachers and myself that Aj seemed to be missing because he is not that kid, he is like a soldier in school, a creature of routine and schedule, never does he veer off the path of normal. So to look back and not see him certainly shocked and scared his teacher {as well as me} just a little bit.

Finally we found Aj, with the help of quick thinking school officials and myself. He was in the bus line, ready to go to the program because after all, the permission slip was sent in so it must have been starting that day, at least according to him in his mind. Aj rarely verbalizes his thoughts and just goes with what he thinks he is suppose to do, which caused quite a stir with a happy ending.

Fast forward to the week that this program actually starts, Aj was so nervous and full of anxiety over his mistaken day of the program starting that he refused to go to the program on the start day. Aj woke up that morning with tears and all full of anxiety stating he was not going to this program and I was to pick him up at school. There was no way, no how that he was going to participate. I knew he really did want to take part in this program, as his sister did for years prior, he had been so excited about it and yet his anxiety was taking over the excitement and he was going to miss out on a really great program if I did not act fast.

I discussed the issue with Aj, why he didn’t want to go all of a sudden and his reply was this “I wanted to go that day and I was disappointed it didn’t start then. Now I don’t want to go. I don’t know what bus to get on. I don’t know what to do, where to go.”  Aj came up with all of these fears that were inside of his little head and spoke them to me, for that I was thankful. Having some form of an idea of his fears allowed me to do what I do best, make the situation better.

I reassured Aj that I would take him inside of the school, talk with the principal and his teacher, anyone that we needed to speak to so that he felt more at ease with going to this program after school. That statement of me saying I would help find answers to his fears, made him happier. Thank goodness!

I ventured into the school hand in hand with Aj to talk to the principal who was so amazing with his words and calmness. Not once did the principal look as if he was making fun or not getting what was going on inside of the mind of my sweet six year old. The principal helped and seemed to be on the same mindset as I was, he walked with Aj and me down to Aj’s classroom where sadly there was a substitute, knowing Aj has anxiety with changes, we found the teachers helper and she assured Aj that when it was time for the program that a teacher who is in charge of the program would meet with all of the kids and together they would walk to the bus line that takes the kids and ride downtown together.

It took all but fifteen extra minutes of my time that morning and in that time Aj’s fears as well as anxiety was lifted at least 90%, so much so that he was okay with attending the program after school. This is how my life is with a child who has anxiety issues, each new program, event or sport is something that makes me learn to be more creative, proactive and positive for my son because without that strength and attitude from his parents & teachers, he wouldn’t be pushed to be all he can be in life.

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  1. The poor kid. Having anxiety at such a young age is hard….I know, because I did, too. Thankfully you are such a supportive mom and the principal sounds fantastic. You guys defintely helped him!

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