Recently Dave and I have noticed a development with Gabriel’s Behaviour which is quite subtle, but very interesting.
This week he has started to use the word ‘scared’. We are not sure where it’s come from but as it’s been Hallowe’en recently it’s obviously being used more than usual.
What’s interesting is that he understands the concept but isn’t sure how to use it. He doesn’t know whether he IS scared or whether he should be, as an expectation. Maybe this is a media influence, on tv he sees characters being ‘scared’. On Children’s television this emotion is of course over played and always brings a positive reaction and outcome from others. In many ways it’s portrayed as being fun (and being scared can be fun and exhilarating like horror films or roller-coasters).
For example, on Sunday morning we watched an episode of Ben and holly. It was the one where they get trapped in a mine looking for Gaston. Gabriel has seen this episode many times but today decided he was scared when they got trapped in the mine. He couldnt explain why he was scared and carried on watching, but wanted reassurance whilst we watched it.
Last week we made lanterns for Hallowe’en. Gabriel decided during the process that he was scared of the lanterns. Not scared enough to stop the activity, but enough that said that he was scared.
Was this an expectation that he ought to be scared of these, or had he learnt a new idea and wanted to test it out?
It’s almost as if he enjoyed saying he was scared, to see what would happen next. Throughout the evening he pointed at the lanterns and exclaimed, ‘scared’ but with a smile on his face!
Gabriel has also started to learn that by saying he’s scared, means that he receives attention and reassurance. At two years old he is starting to become torn between wanting a cuddle but also wanting to be more independent.
Is this a mechanism of gaining that reassurance without implicitly asking for it. The presence of Willow, means that Gabriel doesn’t always get the attention that he wants.
As Mum and Dad we have seen Gabriel wake up terrified from nightmares, watched him be scared to jump into the swimming pool or noticed his body become rigid when up close to an animal is isn’t too sure of. This new type of scared isn’t like that, this is more of a pronounced almost cartoonish example of being scared.
Gabriel loves dinosaurs and monsters, ‘Where The Wild Things Are’ or “Grrrr” as we call it, is one of his favourite books. It seems to only be Hallowe’en associated things that are getting this reaction. Maybe it’s because they are new, they have suddenly appeared in the last fortnight, whereas he has become used to dinosaurs etc as a constant in his life?
It’s hard to rationalise fear and Gabriel’s fears will develop and change as he gets older and will be both individual and shared. But at the moment it’s interesting to see him formulate the concept in his mind and decide how it will apply to him and how he will express it. As his parents all we can do is support him and let him work it out for himself.