While celebrating my Grandmother's 88th Birthday with all of the family yesterday, I overheard my cousin's "guest" say to her as he was watching my Aunt play with Katie: "I guess mannerisms really are learned behavior". I, of course, immediately thought he was referring to the fact that my Aunt was being silly-cute and he must think that my cousin is silly-cute too, like HER Mom. I was wrong! He was referring to ME!
Here comes this stranger to a family function and accuses my daughter of being like me! (Sidenote: I am not mad at him, I just found this bold and an interesting observation at the same time) Here he throws his thoughts into the nature vs. nurture debate. Is he saying that Katie has "learned" the breadth of her personality, mannerisms and ways of interacting with others entirely from me? If this is the case, I am truly doomed. While I would love to take credit for the cuteness factor she was turning on for my Aunts and Uncles, I cannot. Just the same, I can't take credit for her crazy tantrums either (I hope).
I believe that we do shape our children's personalities to a degree . . . but they are entirely their own. You can direct and guide yor kids. You can supply them with endless amounts of manners and "acceptable behavior". You can teach them when it is appropriate to run around like wildmen and when it is not. However, at the end of the day, they will be themselves. And isn't that what we want them to be after all?
Okay, that is all as I am off to the Dentist tomorrow with valium in hand . . . wish me luck, it is my first cavity (at age 33).