Flexibility and Trying New Things – Getting your kids out of their comfort zone

Anna is the mom of 3 exciting children. Her daughter, Lucy is the middle child and in 7th grade. Anna said that she is the most self sufficient of her children and happy to off and do her own thing. This can be a great thing and a challenge, depending on the circumstances. Mom sees a lot of herself in Lucy and loves her independence and passion.

The challenge we discussed is that when there is something that Lucy does not want to do, she doesn’t do it. Not in a loud and defiant way, she doesn’t fight about it. She simply does not do it. The avoidance of confrontation and the difficulty in having emotional conversations is on Anna’s mind and she has been exploring different tools to help support Lucy. Anna knows there will be situations in her future that will require her to get out of her comfort zone and wants her to be prepared.

Dr. Marcie first talked about reflecting on the current baseline. To change any behavior we need to look at where we currently are and take just one small step in a positive direction. Focus on progress and not the end result. This will allow Anna to see the hard work that Lucy is putting in each day to grow. Dr. Marcie encouraged Anna to think about what is one small step out of Lucy’s comfort zone (a 2 minute conversation about emotions), rather than the full behavior she wants to see (sharing about a challenging moment in school).

The next thing that Anna and Dr. Marcie talked about is the difference in different personalities. Dr. Marcie used herself as an example as someone who loves talking to new people, which is very different from Lucy who is quieter and prefers to connect with people she knows. It’s not that one of them is right and one is wrong, it is simply different preferences.

The final piece was talking about how to make it easier to do hard things. When asking Lucy to read a new book, could Anna do it with her in a cozy bed, with a delicious snack? Bringing in comfort as support when doing new things may make it easier for Lucy to engage.