From Helpless to Helpful Parenting

Posted April 8, 2010 by Melissa Taylor
Categories: bullying, fears, parenting

Tags:

“I hate school,” said the puffy green comforter.  “And, I have a sore throat.”

“Really?” I asked.  “What do you mean you hate school?”

“I just do.  It’s boring.”  A head appeared for a moment, then ducked back under the blankets.

I sat down on the edge of the bed, paused and asked, “Is something going on at school that’s bothering you?”

Already, I envisioned the worst case of scenarios.  Was she getting bullied?  It’s all over the news lately.  Is someone being mean to her?  What if she’s falling behind in math?  I wished she’d tell me why she hated school.  She can’t hate school. What should I do?

I got nothing more from her.

Feeling helpless I said, “Sorry, you need to get out of bed and go to school.  Let’s go, up, up.”

Later I realized my mistake – starting with the premise that A.’s life should be easy and fun.  Really?  Is that really my job as a parent, to make her life happy and easy?

Obviously not.

My job is not to make her life easy and fun.  My job is to teach her to be resilient and strong no matter what life brings her way.  My job is not a helpless one, it’s a helpful one.

Oh, yeah.  I bring up a good point don’t I?!

The world loves an extrovert

Posted February 22, 2010 by Melissa Taylor
Categories: Introverts

Tags: , ,

Seriously, the world loves an extrovert.  An extroverted child participates in activities, makes conversation, listens with eye contact, answers questions in class, likes new adventures.

An introvert is . . .  well, totally different.

What does the world think of that?  What do I think of that?

An introvert . . .

doesn’t answer when someone asks a questions.  Or not right away anyway.

might not make eye contact.

isn’t a big fan of new things like field trips and different desk assignments and surprise outings.  (AT ALL!  My therapist says not to keep being surprised by this — Duh, it’s her temperament, get use to it already.)

wants to stay at home.

doesn’t sing along in preschool with the rest of the group maybe.

might not feel comfortable answering questions in class if it’s a whole group activity.

So, I ask, does the world think less of this introverted child?

Yes.

We are shallow, uneducated, extroverted-loving people who don’t understand introverts.  And, I don’t know how to change the world or even my own community to make people understand.  .

I can’t explain (although I try) why my daughter might not answer right away, or look at you, or smile and give you a hug.  Should I have to?  If I don’t, do you think I’m encouraging my child to be rude to you?

We all love an extrovert.  But, do we love the introvert, too?

Introvert Game Changer

Posted January 29, 2010 by Melissa Taylor
Categories: Introverts

Tags: ,

One too many fights between the sisters got me annoyed.  I had to do something or I was going to start screaming.  What was the deal??

I formed a hunch — space.  Big sister aka. introvert hated little sister messing up their room, moving and touching the big sister’s stuff and generally being annoying.  Hence the constant bickering or constant big sister yelling at little sister.

Except, I really wanted the girls to share a room — philosophically as much as physical space wise.  I wanted them to stay up and giggle, to be good friends, to share, bond . . . you know, like camp!

My own childhood memories of my sister and I in our room are great – playing dress-up, listening to music, laying in bed while mom read us a book and the occasional locking little sister  in the closet.

But, as I still am learning, this is not me.  They are not me.  I must do what is best for them and all that . . . sigh.  Big sister, my seven year old, needed her own room.  Now.  Or I would be suffering.  (We all would.)

So, I moved little sister out and across the hall.  My husband and I moved into a small little room at the end of the hall with our only television, a love seat and bookshelves lined walls.  Surprisingly, I loved it — even if I couldn’t walk around the side of my bed.

Life for big sister changed from day one.  I saw huge behavior changes.

Bed made.

Clothes put away.

Toys in baskets.

Desk clean.

Smiles.  (Gasp!)

She’d grown responsibility wings and flown!  Game change!

Gone was the bickering with little sister.  Gone was the child I worried about so much.  In her place, a new, mature young woman, acting friendly and responsible.  All I can attribute it to was a room of her own.  Incredible.

Books on introverts say it’s important for innies to have their own space . . .

I guess they are right.

Love is (hardly) unconditional

Posted August 30, 2009 by Melissa Taylor
Categories: Introverts, love

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

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This week I’ve noticed myself getting annoyed with my daughter — I mean, really annoyed. Why?

Because she doesn’t do what I want her to do. She doesn’t talk to people, she barely talks to me. She doesn’t make eye contact. She is moody. She doesn’t hug. She doesn’t say, “I love you,” — except for the one time. She, quite frankly, challenges me.

I keep getting this phrase in my head, “Love is NOT conditional.” Over and over. And, it won’t leave. Right.  And as seen in the list above, I’m seriously conditional! But, I so don’t want want to be judgmental or conditional.  I hate it.  I feel stuck with my awful feelings.

But, today in church, things became clear.  The pastor spoke about seeing others through Jesus’ eyes, not our own.  We see the outside.  Jesus sees the heart.

Suddenly, it clicked.  I could apply this to my daughter and get unstuck.

I saw her behavior.  The outside.  (And got irritated.)  Did I notice her inside?  Her heart, her fears,  her introversion?  Well, that’s a no brainer.  No, I did not.

Wow.

I don’t normally blog about my faith but in this case, it’s relevant to how I can better love my innie daughter.

My life hasn’t changed in an instant but my vista is different.  Rather than a sky filled with menacing clouds, raining on another turbulent day, I choose to see beautiful shapes, shades of gray, smell of fresh rain, and glimpses of light.

I pray that with my new vision, my eyes can see the beauty in my daughter’s spirit and my love pours forth, unconditional and with abundance.  I will love her because of who she is, not what she does.  I don’t want  poor vision anymore.

I want God’s glasses.

She doesn’t love to read

Posted August 13, 2009 by Melissa Taylor
Categories: Introverts, parenting, reading

Tags: , , , , , , ,

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I find it irritating, ironic and down-right unjust that my own daughter does not love reading. After all, I “know” literacy and since birth have done the following things which I’ll list for edification purposes. (Take notes but be warned–does not work for all children; in particular, my eldest daughter.) And, p.s. aren’t introverts suppose to love books?

* read to her daily A LOT of books and 3 books at bedtime

* take regular trips to the library and check out as many books as we can carry, read them all in no particular order

* model reading my own books and make time for reading during the day

* have excessive amounts of books at various reading levels and on various topics – seriously, it’s excessive

* reward with books

* got her a special reading headlamp for bed-time reading

* limit television — none during the school week and only limited on Saturdays

* listen to books on tape in the car, for quiet time, and just for fun

Okay, you get the point. A+B=C, right? If only.

(I will mention that since birth, she’s never loved, loved, loved books like my other child.  In fact, I use to read mostly at meal time because it was the only time I could get her to sit still for the length of a story.)

Here are my demands desires.

  • I want her to grab a book and read until she’s called to dinner.
  • I want her to talk about what she’s reading as if it were real.
  • I want her to look to books for information she wants to learn.
  • I want an epiphany.

She is only seven.  It will click one day, right?

Summer growth

Posted July 13, 2009 by Melissa Taylor
Categories: Introverts, parenting, Uncategorized

Tags: , , ,

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I watch my daughter assume command of the pancakes.  She stirs the batter, she pours the liquid on the hot griddle and she waits.

Flip.  Flip.  Flip.

She already  makes better scrambled eggs than I do – she doesn’t get distracted by email and cleaning the floor.  Her eggs turn out fluffy.  Mine usually have a crispy bottom from forgetting to stir and wait with patience.  They’re not very appetizing scrambled eggs, that’s one thing.

My daughter finds success in the kitchen.   I watch her work quietly.  She will be proud and tell me later how good she is at cooking.

She is good.  I’m proud. too.

I see a different kid today. . . Today she is fearless and confident.

I never want to stop seeing her.  I never want to fix her in my mind from yesterday, last month, or last year.  I must always remember to look again.

I know we are fluid beings who grow and shift.  So are our kids.

We’re trying worry dolls and Silly Billy book

Posted June 21, 2009 by Melissa Taylor
Categories: fears, Introverts, Uncategorized

Tags: , , , , , ,

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I found the Silly Billy picture book on accident at the library.  Or maybe there are no accidents.

Silly Billy’s grandma helps him with his fears by giving him some Worry Dolls.  They help.  He does worry that he’s given too many worries to his dolls so he makes them worry dolls o their own.

Here are both links if you’re like me and need the book and the dolls for your worried child.  I hope they help us all!

Worry Dolls Link

Silly Billy picture book


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