Remember when you had a baby and there was only one was to have a “good” one? A baby who was quiet, slept lots, happy to go to anyone and didn’t disrupt your old life much was what you were supposed to have. And then you had an actual baby (or 2 or more) and realized that there are precious few that are actually like that but there were heaps of other ways that your baby was awesome if not in that narrowly defined ideal of “good”.
I discovered, as my kids got bigger, that there is also a narrowly defined way that your child is supposed to be in order to be thought of as “successful”. There is an idea that the best way for children to be is extroverted, outgoing, certain, adventurous, clever and bold. The idea seems to be that you try to shape your kids to be this way and if they deviate from the path or are later than their peers in getting there then it is somewhat of a parental/environmental/genetic failure.
I call bullshit. There are so many ways to be a person.
So what of us who have a child (or 2 or more) outside of that box? What if words like introverted, cautious, shy, hesitant, slow or wary feel like more of a fit? Maybe your child is a bit of a mix, maybe they are a fearless introvert or a cautious extrovert. Maybe your child just takes longer than some of the other kids to find their feet. I have even seen kids been mocked for not enjoying scary movies or swimming or rough play.
So what of it? Why are we buying into this myth that these kids are somehow not as awesome as the others?
I feel like there is much pressure and judgement flying around for kids (and their parents) who fall outside that narrow definition of “doing it right”. It goes double if you have made any choices outside the mainstream.
I know adults who are introverted (hell, I’m married to one), cautious, who hate scary movies and team sports and who don’t like change and they get a bigger break and more support than kids who are the same. And any adult who mocks another adult for these things is considered a douchebag.
Why don’t we stop wasting our energy and misplaced worry about how to fix these kids into being that narrow definition “right” and just enjoy them and celebrate them the way they are?
It’s not a race, it’s not a competition, it’s not a test. They’re KIDS.
Awesome, diverse, amazing people that come in all kinds.