Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Dandelions and Orchids

J is for the most part a sweet natured child but there have been times when she disappears somewhere (emotionally) where is hard for me to reach her. To me, an episode like that calls into question the strength of our bond, the merits of my parenting philosophy and if we have what it takes to be truly tested in difficult times. My first instinct in those situations has been to panic first and think later - a bad habit I find hard to break. I refuse to let J hide away behind those large, dreamy eyes that can at once be so eloquent and distant.

We we talk about it is until I believe I have unearthed whatever  may have prompted her to withdraw in the first place. The more sensitive the child, the harder for the parent to strike the right chord - be warm and approachable without being too intrusive, build character without being too regimental, to protect while showing them how to protect themselves, to be their friend without dissolving some of the boundaries that a parent must preserve in order to be a successful parent, be emotionally supportive without smothering with solicitude - the list goes on.

Time and again, I have seen parents veering off too far one way or the other to the detriment of their children. While I may not make the mistakes that I seen made, I am very likely going to make some of my own. I would be grateful to be a "good enough" mother and even that seems like a pretty daunting goal. Reading this wonderful article in The Atlantic about "
orchid children" made me wonder if J is more dandelion or orchid or some flower that's in between the two. If I knew the answer would I nurture her any different.

1 comment:


Thats an awesome link. Thanks for sharing that.