Normalize “SHY” Kids (and how this relates to socializing your dog)

Hadley had a play date at the park the other day and her new friend was hesitant to jump into the mix. Her parents said “Emmy don’t be shy, go say hi!” and “you can go over and start playing!” They really wanted their daughter to interact even though she was clearly uncomfortable. (Something I’ve totally done in the past.)

And it reminds me of socializing a puppy. Which is all about being with the puppy and just doing things and getting comfortable around new stimuli. Socialization is NOT taking the puppy to a brand new place and expecting them to do all of the things they do at your home, in this new environment with new stimuli around new people they’ve never met. And yet, we expect our kids to do that and then make excuses for them when they don’t. 

So next time, when someone comments on your child taking their time, or you feel the urge to explain your child’s behavior, pause for a second and remind yourself what your child is really doing. They’re judging. They’re perceiving. They’re taking in the world around them and figuring out how this fits in to everything they know. They’re paying attention to every bit of stimulus and deciding who is safe, what is interesting, why this is new, and how to proceed. 

I think one of the main jobs of being a parent is setting aside ego and creating spaces for our creatures to become their fullest selves. It’s about recognizing that we can’t control them and becoming comfortable with all of the anxiety that might bring up in us. I think it’s about focusing on how – at a young age – they can change minute to minute and are in fact wired to do so. And it’s about how we can be their best caregivers when we LET them. When we let them be different in each moment – whether that’s rambunctious and outgoing at home versus quiet and carefully perceiving when we’re out a park – we’re letting them explore the full range of what it means to be THEM. This also has the effect of letting them know that we (their primary attachment) are comfortable with who they are.

What do you think about this? What are the thoughts that keep you from being present with your creatures? And to those that were the “shy” kid, what was that experience like for you?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s