8 August 2011

unschool monday :: playing with fear :: part two


In the summertime, I wrote about Little Owlet and her fear of the outdoors. About how she was afraid of almost anything outside. How we tried various things to create a safe and nurturing space for her out there. It worked, to a degree in that it made her want to play outside lots, but the fears were still lingering. Most debilitating has been her fear of anything moving and non human. Particularly dogs.


Then we acquired Betty and we felt that she had much to teach us all, particularly Little Owlet. What has been amazing to watch though, is Little Owlet teaching herself to be comfortable around Betty. Watching her train Betty and figure out her place in our pack. Inspired by this blog post, I showed her this clip about fear. Women overcoming fear. She identified with it. She turned to me one day and said "Mama, I'm going to face my fears".


Every day, she has taken it upon herself to spend some time patting Betty. Asking Big Owlet to sit with her while Betty sits on her lap. Venturing outside with her. Walking her on a lead. Feeding her. Giving her directions. Reassuring Betty and in turn, herself. I'm absolutely astonished at how diligent she's been. Driven to learn all about that which frightens her most. And the results! She'll quietly wander off and pop on some gumboots if she feels the situation requires appropriate foot ware, but there's no panic in her voice. No shaking. No crying. She's not so afraid of other creatures now either.


The best thing is that she's done it all on her own terms. In her own time and in her own way. She's learnt so much about animals, about dogs. And a huge amount about herself and facing her fears. I love that she's had time to do it on her own and I'm amazed at other skills she's acquired in the process. Confidence, for one. And a way to work with and around her fear. Another reminder to me that when the time is right, and the will is there, the child will learn. Brilliant stuff.


  1. Lauren, your girl and my girl have been walking SUCH similar paths recently. I feel so happy for your girl, so pleased that she has worked out how to face her fears and Claim her days. It makes me smile so large, and my heart creak! Thank you, so much, for sharing this story (and it made me instantly go and share my girl's story here too, because it seemed to fit exactly). :)

  2. Please let Little Owlet know she is inspirational to this mama! (So are you. xxo)

  3. I agree with the others, your little Owlet is an inspiration!!
    Love how she did it all on her terms.
    I love un school MOndays xo


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