Kids Are Little Mirrors

June 19, 2021

Kids Are Little Mirrors

Having OCD is hard. It makes us irrational, fearful, anxious, scared and small. It can make us hard headed, stubborn, and rigid. It makes us a lot of things that we don’t necessarily want to pass down to our children, if we’ve been brave enough (or irresponsible enough or lucky enough, depending on how you look at it) to have them. 

Well I have two children. They are young, in their formative years. I am the face they see most. I am a constant presence in their daily routines. I am their reference point for how to behave, react, and respond to life. It would be naive of me to assume that they were not watching and downloading my every move to save into their memory bank of ways to be when x, y, or z happens. 

I see it in the way my daughter stiffens when we drive on the freeway. I see it in the way my son starts to panic when he is unsure about something. I see it when they are quick to yell when they feel unheard but also quick to hug and soften. The thing about kids is that they are little mirrors and you don’t get to choose what they show back to you. 

As my kids get older and I get (a little) wiser, I can see more clearly the ways in which my OCD is shaping them. I am starting to notice that my inability to tolerate temporary discomfort is seeping into my daughter. She is starting to react to school drop offs in the same way that I react to road trips- with lots and lots of anticipatory rumination and anxiety and a ton of resistance. I am also noticing my son start to have mini bouts of panic. His eyes get big and he stops in his tracks and he looks at me like a deer in headlights to ask me if I was sure I blew the candles out. These are learned behaviors.

So if you ask me how to prevent your kids from learning how to be anxious all the time I will say, embodiment. Make the necessary changes in your life so you can show up embodied in the values that you want your children to take away from you. Show up brave, and kind and compassionate and gentle. Show up strong and confident and open. And if you feel scared and anxious, SHOW UP anyway. Show them that it’s possible to be scared and anxious and brave all at once. 



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