My son is pretty shy, painfully shy actually. His teachers are always telling me how quiet he is and that he is the perfect student because he never makes any noise. Well, he may be perfect (proud mom talking now) but not because he is quiet. He is just so timid he doesn’t dare utter a sound. This is very opposite of his father and myself. So much so that at times I am confused on how to help him overcome what has become a stumbling block for him.
I am also puzzled as to the source of the shyness. He had a rough childhood before he got to our house at 18 months. Domestic violence marked his first year and the next months were spent moving around to seven different homes before he came to settle in ours. All that, understandably, caused him to look for protection when around new people or situations.
He is also from a culture where they are known for their quiet, almost reverent, presence. Having lived close to the Dineh’ Reservation while growing up, I know this behavior is something that is cultivated and prized in the Native American culture. His tendency not to look people in the eyes and remain quiet while others are making spectacles of themselves is very common, and even taught to the Indian youth.
Then you include the label of fetal alcohol syndrome, which has caused him some developmental delays, and you can see why I am unsure about the cause of his acute shyness. With all these factors in mind I often wonder how much of it is just him. If he had been born into our home would he still exhibit this personality trait? Nature vs. nurture raises his ugly head again and I am left to question if this is who he is or how society made him?
This is a question we face as parents, especially those who have adopted, time and time again as we strive to help our children become all they can through a combination of nature and nurture. In the end I guess it doesn’t really matter, the only thing that does is how to help him make it work for him rather then against him. After all is said and done the important thing to remember about him is just how perfect he really is, regardless of how he came to become so!