Shy children and other stressy social stuff

Lots of social-type drama with Firstborn this past weekend. If you think a) boys don’t get drama-ful and b) it gets any easier as they get older, you’d be wrong and wrong again, O sisters.

But don’t worry, it’s never any more emotional and wrenching as that first time you took your precious babe to playgroup and he or she was the only one hanging back or, worse, plastered onto your calf the entire time. To mark that, a few stanzas from “Prayer for My Shy Child”:

Dear Lord, other kids aren’t staring at the toe of their shoe, thumb in mouth, hanging onto their Mama’s knees for dear life.

You get a special kind of knife-y feeling to the heart when you watch your child at the playground, or at preschool, or on the outside looking in on a rowdy scrum of toddlers, and you wonder, “Is my kid okay? Will s/he ever have friends?” 

My little shrinking violet is such a peaceful, deep-thinking little soul. God knows the world could use more people like that. And yet, those aren’t exactly traits that pay well on the playground.

The answers are yes, they’ll be fine, and yes, they’ll have friends, but that doesn’t make socialization any less of a worry. Behind the biggies – potty training, sleeping through the night, becoming verbal – Socialization-with-a-capital-S is the biggest, loomingest worry a parent has. 

Please help me remember that this shyness isn’t something I need to “fix.” Please help me to honor this shyness as an essential part of who my child is.

My son — both my sons, really — weren’t so much textbook shy as they were cautious. We did all the things kids are expected to do, boys especially, like jumping off the diving board and riding bikes fast downhill, and, for that matter, walking – we just did them later rather than sooner, that’s all.

And that would include being able to comfortably navigate a roomful of peers without mom being very, very close by.

It happened, eventually, it just didn’t happen right away. 

Help me remember that the kids outside the circle in preschool can grow up to be adults who think outside the box, and that’s all good. Thanks, God.

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2 Responses to “Shy children and other stressy social stuff”

  1. Sandra M. Boulay Says:

    Tracy: So great to hear about you and your accompishments. Tom told
    me about your book. Congratulations!

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