One of the most amazing things about parenthood, in my opinion, is watching your children develop their unique personalities. Each stage of life brings a new look into your child’s character. In a way, its like you get to meet them again, and again. When they are born, you are introduced to this tiny person. But that tiny person is going to grow, and as they grow they are going to discover, and have adventures, and begin to show you what they love. And if you have more than one kid, you quickly see how different your children can be from one another.
Any relationship has its beautiful and difficult moments. Parenting is no different. Getting to know someone means you learn what makes them tick, what inspires them, and what totally absolutely drives them crazy. Learning these things helps you relate to them in a better way, thus minimizing conflict and encouraging joy.
My kids are absolutely different people. One is a bee, the other a butterfly.
My son is my busy bee. He’s focused. He’s practical. He’s direct. But he’s also creative, and kind, protective, and productive. He likes to be with people, but he needs his alone time to recharge. He also struggles with anxiety when things are out of order or if someone breaks the rules.
My daughter is my little butterfly. She floats from one thing to another without much care. If her room is messy, she doesn’t mind, she’s too busy thinking about flowers. She loves to create, and sing, and dance, and play in the mud, too. She loves to be with people, always, every second. She is also very competitive, and has a temper that rivals the Hulk’s.
So, quite naturally, I have to parent my kids differently in some ways if I want to keep some peace in my household.
Here’s an everyday example.
After my kids get home from school, my daughter could easily be with people for several more hours. My son, however, needs time to recharge by himself. So when they get home, rather than making them do the same thing, I send her outside to play with friends or with her dogs, and I send him to have alone time. I don’t have her bring friends over during this time because he needs to unwind after being with people all day long. And I don’t make her go isolate, because it would only make her tired. She’d fall asleep, and then as parents surely know, bedtime would be a nightmare. Sometimes this varies, of course, but that seems to be the usual routine. No matter what, I make sure that my son gets his quiet time and my daughter stays active. Figuring this out about my kids has made their lives, and mine, much, much easier. Just half an hour of “me” time designed for each of them means two kids who are much happier and therefore more ready to cheerfully comply with their to-do lists.
As they get older, this could completely change, or stay the same. I have no idea how different stages of development will change how I interact with them. I have no idea if a bully at school will steal a little bit of my daughter's confidence, and I'll have to approach her more carefully than I'm used to in order to restore it. I won't know if my son's first day of middle school will leave him full of anxiety or excitment until it happens, and until I ask him. I'll have to meet him again. This cycle continues, but that's not a bad thing. It's exciting. I get to walk with them, and learn more about them.
In order to relate well to our children, we must get to know them individually. We must communicate with them, have positive conflict resolution, and clear expectations. Take time to get to know your kids again and again. If we take time to do this, parenthood might just be a little less difficult and a lot more enjoyable.
Our parenting workshops can help you pinpoint areas in your relationship with each of your children that you can improve. Parenting happens on an individual basis. So understanding your children on individual levels is very important. We can help with that in a very practical way! To join us for a free workshop, click here and find out what classes are available for you!