Sometimes I wonder how on earth my children came out of the same womb! Despite being brought up in the same environment they are different in so many ways. It’s fascinating to watch them evolve into these little characters who will one day go out into the world, armed with their own persona as a result of everything they have experienced and the opinions they have formed as a result. But what is it that determines how or why they learn to act or react to different situations? The age old question of ‘Nature Vs Nurture’ certainly raises its head.
As a mother I’m hardwired to worry about every aspect of my children’s development and personality is something that determines so much in our lives that I find myself constantly questioning my parenting style and its affects. Am I doing enough to raise children who will have the tools to deal with life and it’s challenges in a way that is reasonable and healthy? Am I overly authoritative? Am I stifling their personalities? Do they know they are loved unconditionally? Are they happy? The list seems endless and exhausting! From the moment we first pick up that Gina Ford book (who doesn’t want a contented little baby, right?) we question our actions as a parent.
Now I would consider both my children to be generally happy, healthy little souls, completely oblivious to all of my concerns on the above. They go to school quite happily, enjoy a good social group of friends and a loving home life (despite their constant bickering!). I can usually take them out in public without them acting like total morons, they generally do as they are asked and have a pretty good understanding of what is and isn’t socially acceptable. Pretty standard stuff for any 4 and 7 year olds. Personality wise, my 4yr old daughter is the funny, independent, creative, slightly bonkers, more confident of the two while my 7yr old son is a totally different animal. Outwardly he is a typically energetic, inquisitive, cheeky little chappy but he is also kind, and gentle, he has an understanding of how his actions affect others. He is loving, thoughtful, affectionate, perceptive, logical, introvert. He questions life, and religion, and death. He is my little thinking man.
In a world where extroverts are generally perceived as the superior, more celebrated camp I often worry that I should be doing something to encourage my son to develop a thicker skin, to be more confident, to be different. It saddens me so much to think that my little man, with his beautiful, perfect heart should change anything about himself in order to be on a level pegging with the next person. Is he a more likely target for bullies? Will he be able to present himself well in a college interview? Will he have the self confidence to put himself forward for a promotion? Of course we all want the best for our children but maybe it is time to celebrate all the positive qualities our children have without trying to change them. Maybe that in itself would instill a greater sense of self-worth as a child and ultimately throughout life. After all it seems such a shame to try to quash these precious traits that are often lacking in the world today. Let’s celebrate the introverts in our lives and appreciate how a quieter perspective on life might just be a positive thing in a very noisy world.