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.