Nature vs. Nurture – Raising a Child Who is Like Me

Gabrielle. She causes me to sigh (a lot). She is sweet, funny, smart, cuddly, and precocious.

 

Toddler finger-painting 

 On the other hand, she is sassy, jealous, introverted, sensitive, and a perfectionist. These are the traits that pain me. I know life is going to be tough for her. She speaks her mind with complete honesty, but she is so sensitive that she isn’t emotionally tough enough to deal with the repercussions. She is happy with what she has… unless someone else has something. Then she wants what they have. She is so afraid to make mistakes that she often chooses not to take chances or try new things. At dance class, it takes nearly the whole class before she is confident enough to move away from me and just be in the moment. 

 And I know exactly how all of this feels. She is such a bright, happy little girl, but I worry about her socially. Of course she is only two, but she actually looks afraid of the kids who run to greet her when she arrives at daycare. These are kids she plays with all day, every day. 

 Is it just her nature? I have tried so hard not to put any of this on her. I’ve allowed her to make messes and mistakes and yet she somehow has developed the same anxiety over messy hands and her sister “messing up her block tower” that I have struggled with my entire life. Is it nurture? Have I rewarded these behaviors by being too sympathetic? I know how it feels to make a laundry pile and then have a baby walk up and knock the whole thing down. I must be feeding into her anxiety. 

 I just hope that my empathy is enough for her to be able to deal with being a Type-A maniac trapped inside an introvert. It’s not easy. Just ask Gabby’s mom.

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12 thoughts on “Nature vs. Nurture – Raising a Child Who is Like Me

  1. Jen D says:

    I think empathy is definitely the way to go! I’m so worried that Alice is going to end up with my anxiety issues — my big plan is just lots of identifying and talking about feelings, and crossing my fingers that she ends up a social butterfly like her dad 🙂
    My parents were the suck it up/walk it off type, and I think they were trying to “harden” me into being less shy, but it only made things worse for me… I think just being aware that these issues are at play is a huge advantage for our kids, even if you can’t change their basic nature, you can let them know you understand how they’re feeling 🙂

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  2. Justine Y says:

    I definitely think that both elements (nature and nurture) are in play here, as they are with all things regarding children (in my opinion). We are definitely given these wonderful individuals that are just that, little individual people who have their own hangups and own strengths, who have their own expressive little personalities that surprise us every day. You’re right, empathy is such an important quality in a parent and such a powerful tool to have.

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  3. torrs13 says:

    I think there has to be balance. I would just continue to encourage her social skills and be empathetic with her emotions. You are doing a great job… keep being an encouraging momma to her!

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  4. Kailei says:

    It sounds to me like you are doing a great job loving your little girl! I think both nature and nurture play a role in childhood development, but it’s hard to not question everything we do as parents. I am expecting my first in a month, and I am already feeling the mommy guilt before she even arrives! Do your best and try to avoid that mommy guilt!

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  5. Stephanie says:

    I think that no matter what, they are all born with their own personalities. Maybe its too much noise first thing..she is adorable and I have a 3 year old who warms up after most other kids.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. lderringer says:

    I think there is a little of both that comes into play when personalities are involved. All kids are different and there personalities now may not be the same the have as adults. I think it’s really great that you are concerned about this and talking about it. That’s what makes you a caring mom!

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