“I’d love it if she just knocked on her neighbor’s door and introduced herself.” my Husband said. He’d said this phrase about 15 times during the four days of drop off/parent orientation.
“You’re obsessed with her making friends.” I replied.
“WHY WOULDN’T I BE?! I JUST WANT HER TO BE HAPPY!”
We hadn’t even reached the Jersey Turnpike and we’d already had our first empty nest fight.
Seeing my daughter cry when we said good bye unnerved him. He’d already been sad, and that just undid him. I obviously understand his feelings: after all, she’s my baby too….
But here’s the problem. If you talked to my daughter, she was/is not worried about making friends. She was/is worried about academics. My Daughter is used to being the smart one, the kid who got great grades. Now, well, it’s a different fishbowl. Now every student graduated in the top 10% of their class, they all were 99th percentile in standardized tests, they were all captains and presidents and showered with accolades. She’s most worried that she won’t be able to keep up….that’s why she’s anxious.
The friends thing: first off, my daughter has never been the “popular” girl. But, she had friends, good friends, all the way through school. She had kids that she could rely on, who were solid. She might not be a social butterfly, but she is very able to make acquaintances and friendships. This wasn’t really a worry.
“SHE NEEDS TO GO OUT OF HER COMFORT ZONE.” was the next comment he screamed.
I looked over to him. “She’s in a new city and state. She’s sharing a room with someone she met on Friday. She’s about to take college level classes. She needs to find out where the CVS is. Cleaning her own bathroom. Doing her own laundry. Figuring out how best to organize her time now that everything is different.” I took a deep breath. “Do you think any of that is in her comfort zone?”
He relaxed a little. “It would still be nice if she went out of her way to meet people.”
Which led me to my next thought, which was clearly a bubble in my head because I didn’t want to engage in the introvert/extravert see saw. Why do people think being an introvert is bad? Why do they want to change us? Why is it bad that my daughter has no interest in knocking on people’s doors?
Why does he think my daughter needs to change?
Why can’t he accept who she is?
As a parent, you need to love and accept your child for who they are. If your child is introverted, you can’t make them change. And obviously, there are a thousand other examples of allowing your kids to nurture their nature. They are who they are: accept them, love them and help them become the best person they can be.
On a side note. My daughter has the greatest roommate. She has been hanging out in the floor common room and met a bunch of nice kids. She contacted a girl she met during the roommate search and is meeting her for coffee. She’s doing fine socially.
Classes began yesterday and so far, so good. Her professors seem nice, though she found out that “Bleak House” is a thousand pages long so she’s not too thrilled about that….
And there you go…..