What do you do to relax? Reading, scrapbooking, spending time with family and friends, yoga, and the occasional pampering.
What else would you like to tell us about yourself? From the first month my daughter was in kindergarten, I knew my daughter was struggling with separating from mom and dad and that her behavior was outside the norm. I became involved in PTA, Girl Scouts and coached cheerleading in an effort to meet more people to help my daughter adjust to school and other activities. What I did not realize is how much personal enjoyment I would get from volunteering and the amazing friendships I would find.
What benefits has Connecting for Kids brought to you and your family? It helps to talk to people who understand what we are going through and it validates our feelings. CFK has also provided many resources including a professionals directory, chats and expert led discussions. In a very random conversation about reading concerns, I also discovered that my daughter may have been suffering from vision issues that normal eye exams may not uncover. She was eventually diagnosed with convergence insufficiency and accommodative insufficiency, but with treatment, we are back on track with reading. Knowing we are not alone makes us feel whole. I know that I have people to talk to without judgment.
Which have been your favorite Connecting for Kids resources? I love talking to other parents with similar stories and exchanging information. Some of the most valuable information has been discovered by sharing information. The Meet & Greet provided so many resources under one roof!
If I could go back in time and talk to myself the day we got the diagnosis I would say... Don't accept that this is how things have to be. We were told that there was nothing wrong and she was just shy and would grow out of it. Nothing about anxiety is normal. Our daughter consistently experienced headaches, stomach problems, dizziness and other symptoms. She could not function going to school like other children and we could not take her to any activity without major problems unless we stayed the entire time. I wish I knew of the many resources out there. I wish I knew what a 504 was. It was not until mid-second grade that I learned about this. By this point, it became so bad that she slept with a garbage can every night, worried about throwing up. I wish I could have known all my options, be it school, therapy or medication options right away and saved my daughter so much pain.
My greatest lesson learned... My daughter has taught me that incredible strength comes from within and to trust my inner voice. I have learned to communicate by listening better. I have watched my daughter share her struggles with anxiety and help her friends struggling. It has given me strength knowing that my daughter continues to fight this bully called "anxiety" and that while it is never quite gone, it can be managed.
The hardest thing for me to learn was... Patience. I can't expect my daughter to jump into new situations with ease. I have to allow her to test the waters at her pace. I have had to learn to be OK with that. She is her own person with her own hopes and dreams. It's my job to give her every resource to achieve her dreams.
Is there anything else about your journey that you would like to share with other parents? The road to helping my daughter has been quite the roller coaster. I have felt failure, hopelessness and frustration. However, I have met incredible people who have fought for my child. Unexpected people in the most unexpected ways. I want people to know that it is equally important to take care of yourself throughout this. It is critical to have a support system.
Jenny is the parent of one child.
Book: Up and Down the Worry Hill by Aureen Pinto Wagner, PhD.
Faces of Connecting for Kids (CFK) is a monthly feature that appears in our subscribers-only eNewsletter. The parents profiled in Faces of CFK have provided their information to help others walking a similar path to know that they are not alone. If you are interested in providing your own profile for a Faces of CFK feature, please complete this form.