Janie’s mother, Rosa, knew from many past struggles that Janie had a hard time with new experiences. As long as Rosa could remember, Janie was hesitant about anything new, from unfamiliar foods to birthday parties. Rosa had to work hard at encouraging her to try something new. Birthday parties had always been a problem. When she received an invitation she would be very excited to go to the event, but on the day of the party, she would cry and say that she didn’t want to go. Rosa (an ESFJ) could never understand Janie not wanting to go to a party. What could be more fun? She also felt terribly embarrassed if she had to call and cancel an invitation at the last minute. After a few such instances, Rosa negotiated an agreement with Janie that if she accepted an invitation, then she could not back out at the last minute. The next time this happened, Janie enthusiastically agreed to go and reassured her mom that she would not back out. But on the day of the party, once again, she did not want to go.
This time her mother insisted that she attend, since they had made an agreement. Janie ran to her room crying, saying she would never go. Rosa, however, did not let Janie off the hook. Instead, she dragged her, crying, to the party. By the time they arrived, Janie’s mom was angry and Janie refused to speak to anyone. Janie sat in a chair in the corner and refused to participate in the party. What fun for everyone! Rosa began to wonder if she had made a mistake. Eventually Janie got over it and decided to join the fun. On the way home from the party, Janie apologized for her behavior. Oddly enough Rosa felt that her apology was not so much about being sorry, but rather about being surprised that she had survived and even enjoyed the dreaded event. Rosa had felt sure that she would be okay once she got used to being at the party, but she wondered how she could help Janie become more comfortable with new situations.
Now, summer was almost over, and school would be starting next week. Janie wasn’t sad, but she was a bit nervous. In truth every year about this time she felt the same way. The funny thing was, she was also a bit excited. Even though Janie was rather quiet and shy, she had always really enjoyed school. This year she was about to start the 2nd grade. She was both excited and worried about finding out who would be in her new class. Every year, so far, there were always a group of kids that she knew pretty well and that made the beginning of the year a lot easier.
On the Friday before the new school year began, Rosa took a cautiously excited Janie up to the school to find out what who her new teacher and classmates would be. There were hundreds of other children with parents eagerly looking for their class list and greeting each other. Janie saw several of her old friends and began to feel a bit better about the new school year. When Rosa found Janie’s class list she called her over to take a look. But instead of being excited, Janie’s mouth dropped open and she began to cry. Through her tears, Janie explained to her mother that she had no friends in her new class and she did not want to go back to school. In the middle of all of those bubbling, excited children, Janie seemed to be the one child who was miserable. Embarrassed, Rosa nevertheless calmly took her daughter’s hand and walked her home.
Once Janie stopped crying, Rosa tried to reassure her, but without the comfort of other familiar children, her new class and teacher seemed scary and uncomfortable. Janie dug in her heels insisting that she would not go to school this year, discussion over. Rosa kept it short and sweet; telling her daughter that staying home on Monday was simply not an option. Once again, Rosa wondered how she could help Janie adjust to new experiences.
Over the weekend, Rosa took her shopping for new clothes and school supplies. She had learned that Janie enjoyed this process of preparing for a new year and it did help to distract and even cheer her up a bit. Because of this, Rosa always waited until the last weekend before school and always included Janie in the process of getting ready. But Monday arrived and Janie did not want to go to school. Once they arrived at her new classroom, she began to cry and insisted that she could not go into the classroom. Instead of giving in to her fears, Rosa took her hand and told Janie how proud she was of her and how sorry she was that Janie was afraid. She also told her that she had confidence that no matter how scared or upset Janie felt right now, that she could handle this new experience and that she would soon feel fine. Rosa gave Janie a kiss and gently pushed her through the classroom door, turned and walked away.
Rosa worried whether she had done the right thing for Janie. Did she expect too much from her eight-year-old daughter? When school ended that day, Rosa was waiting for her. The bell rang and the kids ran from the room, and there was Janie in the middle of the group with a huge smile on her face. When Rosa asked her how her day had gone, Janie told her mother that she had been right; it hadn’t been long before she felt much better, and by the end of the day she had made a new friend who sat beside her.
Firmly helping Janie adjust to new experiences was not easy or painless, but it worked. Janie needed reassurance that she was capable of handling new experiences, and at times she needed a firm push.
Website Problems??Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org