I asked a four year old (we will call her Claire) to meet the horses and select one to halter and lead. Claire did not hesitate and went about meeting the horses and getting the halter (that she had no idea what to do with) to catch the one she selected. Mom was there (we will call her Jill) feeling very overwhelmed with the fear of Claire getting injured. Claire proceeded as Jill struggled to let her do it on her own. She's ONLY four I could almost hear Jill screaming in her head. I told Jill that Claire was safe and for her to take a deep breath and back up. Allowing Claire to do what was asked of her. She finished haltering and began walking her horse around the pasture. BY. HERSELF.
Jill stood back with tears in her eyes because she had realized how much fear she had for her child, but Claire was NOT afraid at all and believed in herself and her abilities. Jill was the one who questioned her daughter's abilities and mine to keep her safe. In that moment, Jill was limiting the growth of her child out of her own fear of horses. Woah...
First of all, let's give it up for Jill that actually took a step back and let me do my job. She trusted me and that was powerful! This experience may be true, but the situation is not unique. This happens a lot. Parents will tell me that their child has a hard time focusing, is afraid of horses, has no experience with horses OR has even had some trauma around horses. I can handle that because horses are intuitive and force you to be present and focused. I can handle that because the youth can borrow my confidence, safety tools and grounding techniques until they have that skill on their own. I can handle that because that's my job. Parent's fears and anxieties are left in the parking lot for a reason. It often prevents the youth from fully reaching their potential because of their parents limiting beliefs. Woah again...
Your child's growth is often limited by YOU, but it doesn't have to be. We as parents must be committed to always growing and improving while acknowledging when we need outside support in areas we are not sufficient in. Parents are children's advocate, teacher, supporter and connector of resources when they cannot provide the necessary support. It's ok if you don't know horses, are not comfortable with them, or do not know how to use them to empower your child. We do and that is what we are there for.
When having an experience like Jill, awareness is the key to improvement. Paying attention to our triggers and fear will be one of the best examples for our children. We are not perfect, bt the good news is -
Perfection isn't the goal, growth is.
It's hard to let our children grow and become better when we are stuck in our rigid ways of thinking often paralyzed by fear. Growth is NEVER comfortable. We must not continue doing things the same way hoping for another outcome.
Today my hope for you is that you get the help, read the book, take the class and allow those around you to support you in raising your child. It takes a village and that's ok!