So, I've been talking about the anxiety thing lately.
Also at home and around others. Miss M doesn't look like a kid with anxiety most of the time. It shows if you know what you're looking for, and certainly under some conditions it is quite clear. But mostly it looks like normal shy.
Miss R, however, has these little freakouts over new things (people, events, etc.) that made us realize that we've coached so much for Miss M, and not at all for Miss R, and now Miss R's skills are a bit behind.
Leap forward to earlier this week, when Miss R had an extraction at the dentist. She got her mommy's tooth eruption pattern, and her front adult teeth come in behind her baby teeth instead of under, so they just hang out being in the way and risking cavities in the adult teeth. Lovely?
When I was a kid, they just left the other teeth in until they fell out on their own. As a consequence, I had very deep gumline (exposing a bit of root) on my lower front teeth for several years until the gumline decided to adjust. Maybe not the best plan.
So, modern approach is to extract if the adult tooth is well erupted but the primary hasn't loosened up much.
Miss R, understandably, was Not Impressed with the plan.
Okay, so let's Coach! Talk through what is going to happen, give her strategies for handling it...
Uh, or not.
Because as soon as I started talking about what was going to happen, she started to freak out worse. Cried, threw things, insisted she wasn't going to cooperate, that she HATED the dentist, she was going to just stay home. Uh. Fail?
So I changed to strategies for coping. Worse! Even just asking her for ideas about what she could do was a fail. Her only strategy was 'refuse to play'.
I quit while I was only about a mile behind where we started.
And then I remembered. (D'oh!)
They're not all the same.
Some kids (and adults) really do function better if they don't think too much about it beforehand, just go in and carry on. We can talk around observing what else is happening at the time (how do others handle it, would that work for me, what are the pros/cons of that approach In The Moment, what else could I try), but talking beforehand? Lightly, seldom, and not directed at pre-planning the strategy, but at pre-planning the meta-strategy (how to figure out your strategy on the fly, rather than figuring out your strategy now).
In the end, the extraction was a success, and had quite the teachable content there, too. She said she wasn't brave, because she cried. Daddy, seeing that moment, caught it and talked about bravery being not the same as not being scared, and that she did it (knowing it was the right thing to do but not wanting to) was evidence of courage on her part.
Learning all around. I re (re re re re) learned that Miss R is Not Like The Others (just as they're all Not Like The Others, only she's Not in different ways than the others...). She learned that she is brave. Even if she doesn't always feel it.
Which, in the end, is rather a lot like the others.