A Confident Kid
Last week I was out traveling with my son and my mother.
My son is a 2-½-year-old toddler, and can’t stand still for 10 seconds; he loves to run around all the time.
If he does stand still, then he is definitely tearing something down and throwing it around.
Normally I let him run around and use his energy, and if it gets too much, I sit him down in his stroller and give him something to play with.
While at the airport I couldn’t bring his stroller through the security check and couldn’t find any stroller on the other side. So he had to walk by himself, which meant that he was in heaven, running into every store and had to touch everything.
Seeing me running around after my toddler, my mother got stressed on my behalf, and jokingly she commented, “you only have one child, and you can’t even control him. You are so stressed, what would happen when you get number two?”
Well, I don’t have a number two, so I really don’t know.
Even though she was joking, I could sense a bit worrying in her voice.
The thing is I know that it would have been more convenient for me to have a stroller, sit him down and go straight to the gate.
But flying with a toddler who would rather run around instead of sitting in the plan. For me, it was important that he uses some of his energy, got tired and want to sit still on the plane.
Another reason for letting him run around is that I want him to be comfortable exploring new places. I just love his curiosity!
When he was younger, he loved to bring along his toy stroller and go for walks. While other kids would sit in their strollers, he would walk around with his stroller and explore.
My son is by nature a cautious baby; he has always been very analytic and calculated before doing anything. Even his nursery noticed it.
What we found out by letting him explore is, that he has become more comfortable going to new places and meeting new people. He doesn’t hide behind his mother or father; he is very confident walking around because he knows that we are always near.
When we came to Norway, we had a family gathering with the whole family at my aunt’s place. Being in a new location, my boy starts by running off and starts exploring this new area. Being at that age where he has to touch and feel everything, he soon tries to lift the heavy vases she has on a freestanding shelf, tries to carry them around and tries to climb the shelf.
I had to run after him to keep him away from ruining things. After a while I start getting comments like “Poor Shamaila, can’t even sit down and eat,” or “Just let him run, nothing will happen” or “you don’t have to be all over him all the time.” comments well intentioned.
At home, I don’t have to watch him all the time, but when we are out somewhere new, especially with a freestanding shelf, I will be over him like a hawk. I don’t want to risk him getting that shelf over him while trying to climb it or want him accidently destroying other people’s things.
I asked them to stop saying that, it wasn’t “poor” me. I choose to bring along my 2-year-old toddler, and this is what toddlers do. I would be more worried if he sat still and did nothing.
I often get comments that we are very overprotected towards our boy because we always make sure to be around him. We let his needs come first and ours second.
In Astrid Lindgren’s words;
“Give the children love, more love, and still more love –
and the common sense will come by itself.”
I’m a firm believer in this saying.
He is only two years old, what he needs now more than anything is to feel safe. Been cautious by nature, it requires some steps to develop his extrovert side. Our love and affection make him feel safe and confident; he knows that we are always there for him.
We don’t coddle him. We do our best to make him feel safe and come out of his shell and experience life.
Don’t get me wrong; I love his analytic and calculating nature; it is one of his best features. But if he doesn’t develop his extrovert side, the chances are that he will become introvert, and I’m afraid that it will keep him from living life to the fullest.
He gets to explore and experiment, jump from the sofa, crawls on the table and does other “crazy stuff” because he feels safe.
He will not always stay a baby. There will come a time where he won’t need our love and support in the same way. I just want to make sure when that part of life begins for him, that he is strong and outgoing and that he doesn’t lack anything.
Like any other parent, I love my son. I love him to bits, and I know what he needs the most is love.
So I give him a lot of love, attention, affection whenever wherever, and what I have noticed is that when people see the amount of affection I give him, they too want to give him love and affection.
The principle is the same: if you treat yourself poorly, so will everyone else. If you treat yourself good, others will do it too.
If you have something you hold dear, others will find it interesting too.
Coming to the family gathering, my boy soon became the center of attention. He ran around and had fun, he baby-talked to everyone, and he danced and enjoyed himself. He did that because he was comfortable in his own skin and he felt safe.
It’s a fact that people are drawn to individuals who looks happy and confident because we want to be a part of that happiness and good energy. Seeing him happy and relaxed around everyone, soon they all wanted to hold him, kiss him and dance with him.
Read more about the importance of kids believe in themselves.
My kid being so relaxed around people, being happy and not afraid of exploring is not a work of an overprotective mother or father, but of parents comfortable enough to let their kid be himself. By caring less about what others say and more about what your child need, you showing others that your little one is precious and important, by doing that other will look at him like that too.
We all have different ideas of how we want to raise our kids. My son has a well developed cautious side, and we want to help him develop his extrovert side so that he can benefit from both. This is just our experience around how we have chosen to raise our boy.