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Two Year Old Son Wandered

Question:

I have a two year old son and a few months ago he wandered away from me at an amusement park. He was only out of my sight for about 3 minutes but it was the longest 3 minutes of my life. I have never been so scared, it was the most horrible feeling.

Ever since that day I cannot seem to get it out of my head, especially when I am trying to go to sleep. I have flashbacks and I start to cry. It scares me to think what COULD have happened. I worry so much about losing him again that I feel like I never want to take him anywhere.

How do I get over this?!

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Answer:

Hello Worried Parent,

If you are a parent, you have had this experience at least once. When my daughter was four years old, whe wandered off at a crowded beach one summer. At first we panicked. We took our eyes off of her for just one instant and she seemed to havew disappeared. We found her and no harm was done.

The point is, there is no way to be a perfect parent and, therefore, therefore, there is no way to prevent types of things from sometimes happening. That one second of not looking or not holding a child’s hand and, before you know it, the child has gone exploring, or fell and hit their head, or broke some ornaments in a store, etc. We can promise ouselves it won’t happen again, but it can. We can blame ourselves for it happening, but it does no good. Simply, there is no way to stop life from happening.

This is why worrying about “what if” is a good way for you to beat yourself. In actuality, “what if” falls directly into the category of worrying. There is no end to “what if” because there is no end to what life can bring us, both in a positive and negative way. If we allow ourselves there is no end to worrying about “what might happen.”

My hunch is that you are a person who experiences lots of anxiety and worry. These things are rarely connected to a single event. Anxiety, worry and aggravation all go together. The extent to which a person worries is the extent to which they have an overall feeling of helplessness about everything in their life.

In my opinon, going to cognitive behavioral therapy could be of help to you in learning how to lower your anxiety and gain a better sense of feeling reasonably and realistically in control.

Best of Luck

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