Thursday, October 8, 2015

When Your Child Is An Introvert

It can be so interesting to see the difference in siblings.  Take my children, for example.

There is one who is extremely outgoing, positive, funny and makes friends at the drop of a hat.  

This is a kid who asks to ride the school bus home and purposely chooses the longest route so he can hang out with his friends.

A kid who has been dubbed at school, "Jo Jo", he is quickly becoming known for his ultra outgoing (sometimes too outgoing) attitude and quick wit.

Then there's another child.  Sullen, introverted, anti social, prefers books over friends and music by My Chemical Romance over the ever popular, Taylor Swift.

She's the one who eats alone at the lunch table and reads.

Remember those kids?

I do.  Because at times, I was one of them.

Only by putting myself out there however, did that change.  No one could do it for me.  I had to do it for myself.  As tough as it was, (I changed high schools 5 times), I grew a bit more brave and now, you can't shut me up.

 I believe it's important to encourage kid's individuality and in a sense celebrate the fact they are developing into their own selves.

But, I'm not going to lie.  I want better for my daughter. I want her to welcome friendships and interactions.  I want to see less cynicism and more positive outlooks in her views on life. She has so much to offer and does. I find myself inspired daily by my daughter's fierce belief in equal rights for women and hatred for racism.  Her love for the rain, animals and writing offer glimpses into the remarkable young woman she is becoming.

To be honest though, right now we are stuck.  Stuck because our daughter wants nothing to do with the suggestions her father and I give her to combat social anxiety.  She is happy in her little bubble surrounded by her art supplies and journals.  This is fine, there just needs to be some balance.

On the one hand ultimatums can increase reticence, yet not addressing the issue is a disservice to her in the long run.

How I miss the days when the biggest concern was whether or not we would make library story hour on time.
Those years held their own angst, what with toddler hood and potty training.

And so do these.

That's why they are called seasons, I suppose.

One of these days we may look back and laugh over our needless concern but what if don't because we didn't intervene for our child's well being?

So we signed her up for an after school art club.  She was so resistant to the idea, my daughter threatened to ditch and walk home.

But, after stern instructions from both her father and myself that a decision such as that would be a really bad idea, she went.

I wish I could end this with a big happy conclusion but reality dictates otherwise.

She hated it.  But, I think that's OK because it can be a process.  She may never like it and that's OK too.  We won't force her to continue but we have asked that she continue for at least three weeks.

She topped it off when I picked her up, however.  The first day of class was more of a 'let's just be creative and doodle."

My daughter got in the car, handed me what was essentially a coloring page and said, "This is what 180.00 for a class buys you."

She knows right where to get me.

Well played my dear daughter, well played.

She's still going back next week.

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