I’ve mentioned before how Hector is a sensitive soul that takes a while to warm up to an unfamiliar situation or a sea of new faces. Don’t misunderstand me, he’s more than happy to entertain a group of his favourites – be they friends or family – once he’s sussed them out that is.
He’ll regularly treat us to a spot of dancing, an interesting story (usually about fast racing cars), take us by the hand and lead us off on an adventure. And when he’s with Ste and I, he’ll occasionally take a shine to a random stranger and chat nonsense at them for about five minutes or so….so long as we’re there next to him as a back up plan just in case.
But…and it’s a big but, his sunny disposition is easily eclipsed in the face of unfamiliar circumstances. He is not a kid that will take everything in his stride and he has been known to stand clutching my hand refusing to let go at kids’ parties, soft play or even at a playground he’s not visited before. I won’t lie and say it doesn’t frustrate me nor will I pretend that I don’t wonder anxiously why he’s like this and whether it’s something I’ve done from a parenting perspective. My mum says I was exactly the same when I was small so perhaps it’s a personality thing instead.
But I’ve actually gone off track, you see today’s post wasn’t supposed to be about Hector’s tentativeness in the face of new situations but more about his inability to stand up for himself with other children. I suppose my long-winded introduction attempts to give you some idea about his personality for greater insight…or at least I hope it does.
If it’s one thing I’ve learnt this month then it’s that children can be both extraordinarily kind but unflinchingly cruel. I’ve watched older children take Hector under their wing, this past weekend for example in a pub garden, and not so long back at a flower show. They were so incredibly patient with him and caring too and it made me emotional watching them but proud (and reassured!) to know that the next generation are going to be ok with such fantastic role models at the helm. Equally, though, I’ve seen the downside too. Pushy kids seemingly without boundaries that think it’s ok to take something off another child/push them/bully them purely because they want to without any thought of the consequences.
I get it, I really do. Kids will be kids. Toys will be snatched and battles will be fought. It’s all a part of growing up after all and we cannot wrap them up in cotton wool because doing so robs them of the opportunity to learn to negotiate and to stand up for themselves. It is heartbreaking though when it happens to be your kid and they’ve been quietly entertaining themselves with a truck when another child muscles in on the action and grabs the aforementioned toy for themselves without so much of a backward glance. So whilst there’s a part of me that wants to stomp over and give the child a piece of my mind I know that I’m not doing Hector any favours in doing so.
Hector is not one of those kids that will stand and fight his corner. More often that not he’ll reluctantly relinquish the toy/book/object in a state of shock before crying about the outcome and hiding himself in my arms if I happen to be around. A couple of weeks ago he went through a phase of firmly holding onto a toy when someone tried to take it from him (which I inwardly cheered about) but this stubbornness seems to have disappeared again of late. I’ve talked to him about it, about the importance of saying no, of saying ‘please don’t do that’ and of fighting his corner – not physically but by verbally standing up for himself. I hope that it’s going in somewhere.
But then it struck me…there are certainly areas of my own life where I do not stand up for myself, where I feel as if I’ve been railroaded or taken advantage of. How can I tell Hector to do the very thing that I’m not doing myself. Hypocritical much? So I’ve taken it upon myself to be a better role model…what is it they say? Be the change you want to see in the world.
So I guess this is where I ask for your thoughts on the matter. Do any of you have kids of a similar temperament to Hector’s? How have you dealt with their sensitive dispositions or is it simply a case of a phase that will pass in due course? My husband was accused of being a bit of a crybaby in his youth but is anything but now…so perhaps Hector will follow him after all.
I’d love to hear all your thoughts in the comments box below.