Monday, November 3, 2008

To Be or Not To Be

I had a conversation with some other parents the other day and the topic revolved around "shy" children and separation from their parents. Almost all the parents and their respective child(ren) had issues with "shyness", particularly in groups. For some children, shyness is the correct term; for others, perhaps the notion of "warming up" or "thinking" or "observing" is more accurate.

I wouldn't qualify my children as shy. My oldest certainly takes her time warming up to new activities and may keep her distance at the beginning, but once she's had a chance to check things out, she jumps right in and starts playing. My youngest acts similarly at this point.

After talking to the other parents, however, I came to realize that "shy" isn't a problem just for the child; in fact, I'd venture to say it's more a problem for the child's parents. We want our children to have fun, be outgoing, make friends, be funny; essentially, we want them to be wonderful specimens of humanity that everyone else wants to love and be around. In short, we don't want them to have any of our crap. And by crap, I mean our issues, hang ups, hold ups, etc.

Personally, I'm not comfortable in large group settings or settings where I don't really know anyone. I don't particularly enjoy having to put forth the energy it takes for me to meet new people, remember names, tell witty anecdotes; I'd rather be home reading a good book. This being said, I don't want my kids to have this issue, and I don't want my issue rubbing off on them. So, now, when I'm in a group and the girls are there, I really have to try hard to promote this more outgoing type of personality that isn't really me. It's a stretch for me, but at the same time, I think it's good for me to try something new. I am and always will be an introvert at heart, but sometimes you need to put yourself out there and try something different.

What about you, readers? Do you find yourself doing things differently now that you have kids? Are there aspects of your personality you want your children to have? Aspects you don't want them to have? Do you act differently in certain situations?