Watching a child overcome his fear is a satisfying moment for any parent. I was blessed with the opportunity to watch my son push past his fears and have a fulfilling experience at the beach with his brother and me.
I planned a Mancation – a trip with just the guys – to Galveston, TX. My 8-year-old son, N, was thrilled to be able to spend a weekend away from his mom and sister. My 4-year-old son, X, wasn’t quite as enthusiastic.
“What are we going to do in Galveston?” He asked.
“We’ll do lots of cool guy things,” I said. “Such as eat lots of hot wings and nachos, ride trains, play guitars, and hang out on the beach.” When he heard the last activity, his demeanor immediately changed.
“I don’t want to go to the beach, Daddy,” he said. “I just want to stay home with, Mommy.” X has never liked the beach. He starts crying as soon as we step on the sand and avoids the water at all costs.
“The beach is fun,” I assured him. “Daddy won’t let anything bad happen to you. I promise.” I gave him a big hug and kissed him on the forehead. He smiled slightly and agreed to give it a try.
On the day of our trip, I loaded the boys into the Chevy Suburban and headed down I-45 South. After checking into the hotel, we changed into our beach attire. I could tell that X was still a little nervous, but I didn’t say anything to him.
We cruised along the seawall looking for a parking until I got fed up and decided to pay to park on the beach. I’m glad I did because it provided easier access. I unloaded the boys from the Suburban and headed towards the water.
“Daddy,” X said as saw the waves crashing again the shore. “Can we go back to the hotel?”
I stopped and crouched down next him so I could look him in the eyes. “You have nothing to be afraid of,” I said. “You are a good swimmer, but more importantly, you are a brave boy and daddy will be right by your side.” I grabbed his hand and led him to the water.
N had already run ahead of us and was splashing around.
X tentatively dipped his feet into the water and slowly moved closer to his brother. N grabbed his brother’s hand and dragged him into the surf.
“Just do what I do,” N said. N started jumping over the waves as they came in. “C’mon, X. You can do it.”
X looked over his shoulder at me, sighed and jumped. Then he jumped again. And again. Soon, he was giddy with excitement as he and his brother were running through the water and jumping over waves like two Olympic hurdlers. I smiled and joined then fun.
After a couple of hours of being beach bums, we sat in the sand as the sun began to set.
“I like the beach, Daddy,” X said as drove his toy car in the sand.
“I knew you would,” I said.
“Mancation was awesome!” N said. “I can’t wait until we can do this again.”
I pulled my sons close to me and gave them a bear hug.
“Neither can I,” I said.
Join the conversation: How have you helped your child to overcome his/her fears?
Disclosure: Chevy paid for my Mancation