The best gift I have been given within the past year is the presence of my two nieces. I already wrote about how they have changed me as a person. But what I really think should be discussed is how protective I am of them. It goes without saying that they are the most important people in my life and I am really protective of them. Not only do I want them to be happy and grow up to be great people but also I would like them to be treated with respect. I know it seems extreme to think that you should treat these kids who are just a year old with the amount of respect you do to a fifty-year-old grandmother.
This comes with my frustration when people meet them and expect these kids to immediately be open and friendly. Yes, it is good for them to be open and friendly to strangers or even family (that we rarely meet). However, not all children are the same. People come in all shapes and sizes. Everyone has a different personality and character. It is what makes you special. Have you met a complete stranger and instantly open up to them? I don’t think so. Therefore, I think it is preposterous to demand such a thing from children of all people.
Children are like the weather. Some days, they are bright and sunny. Other days, they are gloomy and closed off. I see my nieces as much as I can. Most weeks I see them only once or twice. Even as a close aunt, they do not come running to me each time I see them. I give them space and time to warm up to the environment. Slowly they will warm up to me. Yes, it kills me when they do not open up to me. For example, Hanna and I have a weird relationship. Most days she doesn’t want to held by me but she is okay with everyone else. I may be disappointed but I remind myself that she is a child. I just have to give her time. All she has to know is that I love her and that I would be here for her despite not getting kisses or hugs from her. Children are not here to entertain your need to be love. They are human beings who need love unconditionally.
Moreover, do not compare Sofya with Hanna if one is more open and friendly. This really frustrates me because I know what it is like to grow up and being compared to every single person around me. Imagine growing up surrounded by people who criticize your every move. Two words: self-esteem issues. It’s like you are never enough. I never want them to feel like they are always flawed and being you is not an inconvenience. I don’t champion bad behavior. But I do believe the comparison between kids does more harm than good.
Again, everyone is different and you should not feel inferior because you lack in certain aspects. Feeling good in your skin is the kind of mindset which I hope that Sofya and Hanna will grow up with. You are enough. Stop with the “oh Hanna is better because she opened up to me immediately” or “Sofya is better because she knows how to do _____ “. Praise them but not at the expense of putting down another child. Let them be! They’re just kids.
This seems like a complaint post but really I hope that it raises some self-awareness among adults on how to behave around children. As adults, we should promote good habits and set good examples because we should know better. If not, why are you wasting your time on earth for?
Hanna and Sofya are really great kids who continue to surprise me with each passing day of their growth. I just hope that people love them and enjoy them as they are. Hopefully, they grow to be great members of society. Insyallah