Pushing our kids past their comfort zones


Last week, we were on a Disney Cruise/Disney World trip. Max loved Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and the Disney gang (princesses included!). He had a blast at the Kids Club on the boat. He adored the monorail. He enjoyed the safari at Animal Kingdom. He went on the Speedway race track at the Magic Kingdom too many times to count. But he was terrified of the rides.

First we took him on the totally innocuous Tomorrowland Transit Authority ride (basically, a slow-moving cart ride that gives you an overview of the area) and he whimpered the whole time. He sobbed during the Nemo ride at Epcot. Then we came upon Test Track, a race-car ride. He didn’t want to go. “We have to keep pushing him, or he’ll always be scared,” Dave said.

I had mixed feelings. I knew Dave wasn’t wrong, but I also didn’t want to traumatize Max. In the end, though, we went. And while Max didn’t exactly love it, he didn’t cry, either.

After that, rides were a mixed bag. Max just wasn’t into most of them.

It’s hard knowing when to push Max. It’s not just that he’s scared; loud noises and sudden switches into darkness are sensory issues for him. But then again, I think that like any kid he should be exposed to new things to encourage progress and maturity.

It’s a fine line to walk, isn’t it?

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