A Wife Loved Like The Church

Posts Tagged ‘Childrearing

Top Ten {Tuesday} It’s hard to explain to people that I’m actually pretty introverted. I think they are thrown by my willingness to talk, be loud, enjoying large cities/crowds and sharing my thought/opinions. Seems very extroverted, if you ask. But given the choice to spend a night alone or out entertaining, I’m likely to want to be alone. A night of hosting or going out can leave me drained if I’m not very careful. I love people, but I love being alone. A lot.

As Julia has gotten older and her personality/character has really grown, I see a lot of me in her. She loves crowds, but from a distance. She loves new situations, but stays quite until she’s comfortable. She loves being around other kids, but can sit off and play alone, refusing to interact. She loves talking/being silly, but can clam up on a moment’s notice. All very similar reactions to how I was as a child.

Now that we have moved away from her friends {who she’s know since she was born} and she’s actually have to make friends, I’m working on bringing out her extroverted side. Here are a few things Jon and I’ve been doing to help her grow:

1. Talking it through {before} – When we know we are taking Julia into a new situation, we talk her through it. Before we ever get to our destination, we explain {to our best ability} what she can expect. New kids. New part of the city. Certain rules {at someone’s house}. We try to prepare her to know what she’s getting into, so it’s less “new”.

2. Talking it through {after} – Once we’ve gone somewhere {especially where there are other kids}, we ask Julia who she meet, if she talked with them and what she/they did. We focus on praising her for her efforts and encouraging her to continue learning about the new kids she meets.

3. Talking to others – Julia constantly wants to know “What’s her/his name?” Every time she sees a child close to her age, she wants to know about them. For a while {when we were in Iowa} I was giving her the brush off {awful, I know}. But now, I’m realizing it’s one more way she’ll meet new kids. When we’re at the store and Julia spots a new kid, if she asks about them, I tell her I will help introduce them. Sometimes she says yes {so I go over and start the introductions} and sometimes she says no {at which point I remind her that introducing herself is a way to make new friends}.

4. Playgroups/Play settings – Getting Julia involved in playgroups is vital to opening her up. We haven’t had a ton of opportunity to do this since moving {with the holidays a lot of people have been gone}. But yesterday, and later this week, we have several events planned in order to introduce {or re-introduce} Julia to other kids. Continually seeing the same people helps her break out of her shell and feel comfortable.

5. Cutting her slack – It can get a little frustrating when Julia asks to play with kids she sees, but then backs out when I help her through the introductions. But I have to remember she feel vulnerable {I know I did as a kid!} and that she just needs more time and praise for her small efforts.

6. Loving her – I’m pretty amazed at how comfortable Julia feels at our new church. The first few times we dropped her off at Sunday School, she was a bit upset. But now, she’s loving it. And a lot of it has to do with us loving her. Showing her that we’re leaving, but are coming back. Knowing she’s secure in our love seems to help her confidence even when we aren’t around.

7. Getting active – It seems that when Julia is active, she forgets that she’s introverted and her extrovert can shine through. Because of that, we’re enrolling her in soccer and gymnastics. She’s tried both of them out, really enjoys it {plus she burns a ton off energy, so I enjoy it!} and seems to be more outgoing while she’s playing.

8. Talking about our friends in Iowa – All of Julia’s friends in Iowa hold a special place in her {and our} heart. No one she ever meets will be the same as they were. So we want her to remember them and think about the special things she did with them. It helps lead into what she can do with the new kids she meets.

9. Encouraging friendship with Hannah – One of the best things about the girls being close in age, is that they have a real friendship between them. We encourage the girls to play together, just like they would a friend.

10. Being a friend – I don’t think my role as a mom is to be a friend all the time. It crosses the authority boundary a bit too much for me. However, I can still be a friend who plays house, sings songs and dances. We’ve been doing those things a lot recently. And I’ve really enjoyed them {although Ring Around the Rosy makes me so much dizzier now than as a child!}.

We’re still working through all these different steps and it seems to be working well. I’m hoping as the holidays end and we’re more into our routine, Julia will flourish and meet new friends.

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