The Writing Mamas Daily Blog

Each day on the Writing Mamas Daily Blog, a different member will write about mothering.

If you're a mom then you've said these words, you've made these observations and you've lived these situations - 24/7.

And for that, you are a goddess.

Friday, July 04, 2008


Allowing Your Child's Personality to Emerge

I pity the poor kids -- and mine is one -- who do not relish group activities.

We’ve come to think that happy participation in groups is normal and required behavior.

By the time most kids are toddlers, their everyday happiness depends on how they navigate in groups – daycare, Gymboree, music classes.

I remember leaving my howling three-year old son in a gymnastics class. I hovered in the hallway, dialing my husband on my cell phone for advice.

Should I leave him?

We decided he needed to learn to be on his own. If we didn’t start now, wouldn’t it just be tougher on him later?

My son is now a confident, gregarious and well-liked nine-year old. Teachers have called him a peacemaker in the classroom and on the playground. But he freezes if I try to leave him with a group of more than four kids.

One-on-one situations are no problem. Three to four kids is festive and exciting. Any more and he stays glued to me. We’ve walked out of birthday parties when he flat out refused to join in with a group of smiling classmates during gymnastic tumbles and turns. And after a three-day weekend or spring break, returning to his classroom brings tears to his eyes.

Teachers have physically restrained him so that I could dash for the car.

I thought he would outgrow this anxiety, but now I accept that this is part of who he is. We accept this in adults. It’s okay to say, “I just don’t’ like big parties” or “I do better in small groups,” but our current social structures don’t allow this trait in kids.

In fact, it’s no longer considered a trait – it’s considered a limitation.

By Marianne Lonsdale


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