early socialization

I went to pick R up at school (school? School? Am I really one of those moms who calls it SCHOOL when it’s really just glorified day care with music classes once a week and ‘class pictures’ every quarter?) yesterday, and she was out on the playground. I found her at a picnic table with some other (older) girls (they were probably three but they looked about seven to me).

As I approached, I heard the words, “No R! Stop!” first from one girl, then the other three chimed in as well. R was sitting on top of the picnic table, totally inappropriate and wrong of her (but she’s only two!). But in that moment, memories of my own childhood came rushing back.

I was a shy child, slow to make friends. You would never find me sitting on top of a picnic table trying to take over something others, especially older girls, were doing. But you would find me being bossed around, being made fun of, being generally used as a doormat by my playmates.

I do not want that for R. But I also do not want her to be the bosser, the bully, the child no one likes because she attempts to run every activity from tether ball (do kids even play that any more?) to tea parties. I worry that my own insecurities, both as a parent and as a person, will somehow taint R. Rationally, I know that they will, and I shouldn’t let it bother me because it happens to every kid. Just like I inherited my pear-shaped figure and love of Diet Coke from my mother, so will R likely get my bad skin and brownie cravings.

I know I can’t shield her from being who she is going to be. I have to let her make her own way in the world. I can’t protect her or, in all cases, prevent her from making the same mistakes I did. I just remember how painful being a child, an adolescent a teenager and even a young twenty-something was for me. And I illogically want to protect her from that.

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5 Responses to early socialization

  1. Christina says:

    I think just wanting to help her is all you can do. Its just as you said, she will be whoever she will be and you cant do much when she isnt with you. I think caring and trying to help her is the perfect start.
    I know if Nathan is shy and picked on I will have to fight all that I am not to kick a little kid in the shin, boy or girl. leave my baybeee be!

  2. skiplovey says:

    I was shy too, from about 4th grade (when moved moved to California) on to hmmm high school? My hope for my little guy is that he’s naturally more gregarious like his dad, or more like I am now since I push myself not to be shy. Whatever the kids will be though, they will be. I’m sure I’ll have to remind myself of that a million times.
    Just being a good example is the best we can do, I’m pretty sure. Or else pay other kids to like our children, ha ha.

  3. malinthemiddle says:

    The hard part is realizing they are not us, and not putting our fears and insecurities on us. My daughter has always tended to be on the chunkier side, and I freaked because I was not chunky but really fat, and had a miserable childhood because of it. But she? Glides beautifully through life, a social butterfly who is not only popular but takes her big healthy body, puts it in a leo and dances. The cool part of being a parent is seeing who they turn out to be. ((hugs))

  4. Victoria says:

    Keep her safe and head off any real/serious problems you notice, but otherwise, you just kinda have to let things happen. She’ll go through stages and phases and the best you can do is offer support, guidance, and sometimes correction when she does wrong. She’ll turn out as the person she’s meant to be. Just keep on being a good role model and she’ll follow your lead.

  5. Most studies show that these things are a temperament issue – she either came in shy or she didn’t. Around 4th grade, a lot of girls (like 70%) take a self esteem dive as the class of girls breaks into the pretty/girlie/rich girls and everyone else.

    All of that said? Love heals. Loving her is really enough. If she’s well loved, nothing else matters. Period.

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