I lamented in this post about being an introverted mom of three extroverted boys. I grew up in a quiet, introverted family of three girls (my younger sister is an extrovert, but she is certainly outnumbered!). Life is WILDLY different in a house full of (ALL!) extroverted boys. I came across a couple articles this week that had me nodding my head vigorously. (I fully understand that personalities vary, but these echo my personal experience.)
Why Boys Are Failing in an Educational System Stacked Against Them by Lori Day @ HuffingtonPost.com:
As the mother of a female only child, my parenting experience, while not always idyllic, has been relatively peaceful. As a toddler, my daughter was sedentary and cautious, and seemed to have nowhere she needed to go. She would sit in one spot on the floor for hours with a pile of books, "reading" to herself. I could shoot from room to room, accomplishing tasks, and she would smile up at me from her place on the living room rug as if wondering, what's the hurry?
She was much like I was as a child, and nothing like the brothers I had grown up with who requisitioned large expanses of the floor plan of our house for their games, commandeering space like an army of two. The entire finished basement was needed for indoor hockey (and windows were expendable). Outdoors, acres of woods were barely enough for their imaginary villages and the conquering of foreign lands. Unwitting trees were the patient recipients of nails and ropes and bungee cords, bending uncomplainingly to the weight of whatever animate or inanimate objects were tied, strapped or hung from them.
Our modern educational system works for many children, particularly girls, but for some boys (and girls) it places constraints on a very normal and necessary experiential type of learning, not to mention the need of many children to move around rather than sit still. While it may be a cynical statement, I have often felt that co-ed schools are girls' schools that boys go to.
Shyness: Evolutionary Tactic? by Susan Cain at NYT.com gives words to some of my frustration, not only with being an introvert myself, but also with my young boys who don’t seem to have some of those nice ‘pro-social’ behaviors that came with the shy nature of my own childhood.
Sitters’ temperaments also confer more subtle advantages. Anxiety, it seems, can serve an important social purpose; for example, it plays a key role in the development of some children’s consciences. When caregivers rebuke them for acting up, they become anxious, and since anxiety is unpleasant, they tend to develop pro-social behaviors. Shy children are often easier to socialize and more conscientious, according to the developmental psychologist Grazyna Kochanska. By 6 they’re less likely than their peers to cheat or break rules, even when they think they can’t be caught, according to one study. By 7 they’re more likely to be described by their parents as having high levels of moral traits such as empathy.