Having children is called the great equalizer for many reasons. Rich, poor, various backgrounds, as parents we all share many of the same concerns, joys, and difficulties. Raising young children is a great growth opportunity for adults and often forces you into uncomfortable situations. If you can learn to see these situations as positive growth for you it can change your life, or at least enhance it.
Over the years many parents have confided to me that they are introverts and like quiet private time, but their child is a totally extraverted social creature and has been that way since birth. In such a situation, it can be difficult to meet your child’s needs and keep your social anxiety to a manageable level. Most of the parents in this situation that I have worked with found that over time they actually became much less socially anxious, because like any skill, putting yourself out there in public gets easier with practice.
Sometimes you might find yourself learning a new skill for your child’s sake. It could be something you disliked as a child, but now you can at the very least appreciate and understand it through your child. When my son was in elementary school he joined (and loved) the chess club. After a couple years, there was no leader for the chess club. It was going to disband. I knew how much my son and his friends loved that club so I volunteered to run it for a couple years. Each week I would go online and come up with new lessons. As a child I never liked chess but now I was learning to teach it and appreciate the endgame. I’ll never forget being at a tournament where a father from another school said, “I don’t understand it. How can they each get a half point? My son took more of his opponent's pieces.” I sat down and said, “I used to wonder about that too…” then I explained how the endgame works and how to strategize so your king does not get taken, so you can earn that half point. That was the day I knew I had been changed by my son’s interests!
A close friend once told me a similar story about how she didn’t care for sports, but due to her sons’ interests she had to learn how to play basketball. Learning new things is great for any age brain. So if your 10 year old is going to take fencing classes, you can sit in the lobby for 90 minutes or you can join and take the class yourself. Learn new skills. Now you share a hobby with your child. Who knows you may continue long after your child has moved on to something else. Be the parent who is also growing and learning. It makes life much more interesting. You probably won’t like everything you try for your child's sake, but you may well be surprised. Parenting gives you a chance to try things you never got to try as a child…whether you want to or not!